Sherwood man, once an Olympic equestrian, sentenced to prison in federal sex abuse case

Richard Fellers had been coaching the victim, an equestrian student, since she was 14, federal prosecutors say.

A former Olympian and renowned equestrian coach has been handed a federal prison sentence of over four years following his conviction for targeting a teenage student.

Per court documents, federal prosecutors revealed that 63-year-old Richard Rankin Fellers of Sherwood initiated sexual abuse of a female equestrian student in late 2019, persisting in this misconduct until the summer of 2020. The victim had been under Fellers’ coaching since she was 14 years old, with the inappropriate relationship commencing when she turned 16. The climax of their involvement occurred during an extended road trip in June 2020 from Oregon to an equestrian event in Michigan.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon noted that subsequent investigations disclosed Fellers’ premeditated intention to use the trip as an opportunity for sexual misconduct with the student.

Fellers faced arrest by Washington County authorities in June 2021, charged with four counts of second-degree sexual abuse. At the time of his apprehension, Fellers maintained a residence and an equestrian facility outside of Lincoln City.

Following Fellers’ arrest, the victim, represented by her legal team based in Florida, released a statement, expressing relief and gratitude that her truth had been acknowledged and believed. She emphasized the restoration of her inner strength through safeguarding others to prevent similar experiences.

In May 2023, federal prosecutors filed charges against Fellers for a single count of crossing state lines to engage in unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. Fellers subsequently pleaded guilty on July 13.

Fellers is still confronted with a pending state criminal case in Washington County, where he continues to confront four counts of second-degree sexual abuse in connection with the same teenage student. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a concurrent sentencing agreement has been reached between federal and county prosecutors, meaning his prison terms will run simultaneously rather than consecutively.

Following his sentencing, Fellers was instructed to surrender into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.