PORTLAND, Ore. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A former Olympic equestrian who in retirement became a world-class horse-jumping coach was sentenced to federal prison Thursday for sexually abusing a minor student.  

Richard Rankin Fellers, 63, of Sherwood, Oregon, was sentenced to 50 months in federal prison and five years’ supervised release, the Oregon U.S. Attorney’s reported.

According to court documents, from late 2019 until the summer of 2020, Fellers maintained an intimate sexual relationship with a minor female equestrian student who he had been coaching since the student was 14 years old. The relationship, which reportedly began when the student was 16 years old, culminated with a multiday road trip in June 2020 to an equestrian event in Michigan. 

Investigators later learned Fellers planned the trip so he could engage in sexual conduct with the student. 

On May 24, 2023, Fellers was charged with one count of traveling across state lines to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor. On July 13, he pleaded guilty. 

Fellers has a pending state criminal case in Washington County Circuit Court, where he is facing four counts of second-degree sex abuse for illegal sexual conduct with the same minor student.

As part of a global resolution with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Washington County District Attorney’s Office, Fellers’ federal prison sentence will run concurrently with any state prison term imposed when he is sentenced on Oct. 27. 

Fellers and his horse Flexible competed for the United States in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and the pair won the World Cup Show Jumping Finals the same year.

Fellers was ordered to voluntarily surrender into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service following sentencing. 

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 by the U.S. Justice Department to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.