By Valliant Corley

Wescom News Service

GOLD BEACH, Ore. - Curry County registered voters should have received their ballots for the recall election of Sheriff Mark Metcalf, Curry County Clerk Rene Kolen said.

Ballots were sent May 26.

All ballots must be returned by 8 p.m. on election day, June 12.

The election was called after the county received petitions containing more than the 1,522 signatures of registered voters by May 4.

The voter recall began as Metcalf was being investigated by the Oregon Justice Department on complaints brought by female county employees that they had been abused and harassed by Metcalf.

Metcalf was arraigned Jan. 21 on an indictment by a Curry County Grand Jury charging him with 11 misdemeanors, including four counts of sexual abuse in the third degree, four counts of harassment and three of official misconduct. His trial is set for July.

On Jan. 17, the sheriff's department employees held a meeting, with 34 employees representing all divisions of the department voting 33-1 to declare no confidence in Metcalf's ability to effectively lead the sheriff's office.

On Tuesday, former Sheriff Ken Owen endorsed the recall.

andquot;I know all three of those ladies personally, them and their husbands,andquot; Owen said. andquot;They're credible ladies and I have a great deal of respect for them.

andquot;I also have a great deal of respect for those men and women who work in the sheriff's office. It was an overwhelming vote of no confidence in the sheriff.

andquot;That tells me there's something seriously wrong there. I intend to support them. I'm going to vote in favor of the recall.andquot;

The official drop sites for ballots are open and ballots can be deposited at the Brookings City Hall, the Port Orford City Hall and the Curry County Courthouse.

andquot;There is no 50-percent turnout required as is the case for special elections involving taxes,andquot; she said.

The recall election was officially set for June 12 after Metcalf submitted a statement of justification to Kolen's office after the recall petitions were filed.

andquot;I am not guilty of any of the charges made against me by anyone,andquot; Metcalf said in his statement of justification. andquot;A grand jury proceeding has resulted in criminal charges against me and a jury trial has been scheduled for July.