On July 9, Newport Police Officers began an investigation regarding alleged sexual abuse reported by adult employees of Mahlon “Mel” Blose, age 67 of Newport. The investigation revealed that Blose, who is bedridden, and Ronald Flinter, age 46 of Newport, who is Blose’s assistant, would hire caregivers through “craigslist”, offering room and board, a phone, and food as salary. It was further reported Blose would inappropriately touch them, and cause the caregivers to inappropriately touch him, in a sexual manner. He threatened to fire them and eject them from the property if they did not do as instructed. It was reported Flinter would spy on the caregivers when they were in their own private residence on the property, and watch them as they were engaged in intimate private acts.
On July 12, 2015, Newport Police Officers, assisted by Lincoln County Sheriff Deputies, executed a search warrant on Blose’s residence at 354 SE 35th Street, South Beach. Officers seized multiple computers, computer equipment, photos, cameras, published child pornography, evidence of trading in child pornography, and multiple pornographic photographs and negatives.
Blose was arrested on charges of Sexual Abuse in the 1st Degree; Unlawful Sexual Penetration in the 1st Degree; Subjecting Another to Involuntary Servitude in the 2nd Degree; Trafficking in Persons. Conspiracy; and Harassment. Due to Blose’s health condition, he was issued criminal citations in lieu of custody, and released at his residence. His bail was set at $515,000.
Flinter was arrested on charges of Invasion of Personal Privacy; Subjecting Another to Involuntary Servitude in the 2nd Degree; Trafficking in Persons; and Conspiracy. Flinter was lodged in the Lincoln County Jail with bail set at $400,000.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation, or who may have worked as a caregiver for Blose, are asked to contact Officer Brad Purdom at 541-265-4849.