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Del. GOP candidate indicted on sex-with-minor charges

Candidate boasted being a member of the anti-gay Delaware Family Policy Council



Eric Bodenweiser, gay news, Washington Blade
Eric Bodenweiser, gay news, Washington Blade

Mugshot of Eric Bodenweiser. (Photo released to public)

A Republican candidate for the Delaware State Senate who boasted of being a member of the anti-gay Delaware Family Policy Council was indicted this week on multiple charges of engaging in unlawful sex acts with a 13-year-old boy.

The indictment came less than a week after Eric Bodenweiser, 53, abruptly dropped out of his race for a State Senate seat in a conservative-leaning district near Rehoboth Beach that includes the City of Georgetown.

The indictment includes 113 felony sex charges, including 39 counts of unlawful sexual intercourse — first-degree and 74 counts of unlawful sexual contact — second-degree. Although the indictment doesn’t identify the gender of the victim, the Gape Gazette identified the victim as a boy who allegedly was sexually abused by Bodenweiser between Oct. 1, 1987 and Aug. 31, 1990 when he was between the ages of 10 and 13.

Jason Miller, a spokesperson for the Delaware Attorney General’s office, which is prosecuting the case, said the victim, who is now in his 30s, has spoken to the media and revealed details not disclosed in the indictment but which are expected to surface at a trial.

The Cape Gazette reports that Bodenweiser was released on $250,000 secured bail while he awaits trial.

Among those who had endorsed Bodenweiser in his State Senate race was Christine O’Donnell, the 2010 Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Delaware.

Democratic candidate Jane Hovington, who was expected to lose to Bodenweiser by a wide margin, is now the only candidate on the ballot in the race for the 19th Senate district. She is being challenged by Republican former Georgetown Mayor Brian Pettyjohn, who is running as a write-in candidate.

Hovington’s positions on LGBT rights couldn’t immediately be determined at press time.

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  1. Scott L Moore

    October 30, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Wouldn't be the first time some conservative "family values" candidate or leader got involved in something like this.

  2. Michael Antony Subia

    November 1, 2012 at 12:43 am

    Color me "shocked!"

  3. Annah Maria Hinman

    November 1, 2012 at 4:47 am

    how am I NOT surprised.

  4. John M. Connolly

    November 1, 2012 at 6:07 am

    Makes me realize that it's true. The reason Republican legislators are against marriage equality is that they fear their boyfriends will demand a ring.

    • Lenny DeBrita

      November 1, 2012 at 11:25 am


    • Janice Best

      November 1, 2012 at 1:56 pm

      Given that this is not an issue of marriage equality, nor an issue of LGBT issues, but an issue of sexual abuse of a minor, I do not see how this is funny. It is sad and sick that anybody would see sexual abuse of a minor as being somehow similar to LGBT issues.

    • William West

      November 1, 2012 at 3:04 pm

      It became an LGBT issue when the anti-LGBT candidate was discovered to be a total hypocrite.

    • Janice Best

      November 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm

      I was busy, and didn't have time to word it correctly (which means I should have waited until I did have time). I meant equating sexual predators with LGBT adults, as John M. Connolly did. I do not mean, of course, that the article writer is doing so.

    • John M. Connolly

      November 2, 2012 at 1:31 am

      I think the point of my comment was hypocracy, not LGBT issues.

  5. Tim Scholze

    November 1, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Heh heh… Gape gazette

  6. Tim Scholze

    November 1, 2012 at 9:23 am

    For the record, these guys are awful human beings. They are against abortion until they get a woman who isn't their wife pregnant. Then they're all for it. This child rapist also happens to like little boys. He just hates everyone else. Let him rot.

    • Erin O'Boyle

      November 1, 2012 at 10:16 pm

      what does this have to do with abortion? and some bad people don't reflect all people. there are bad democrats, too.

    • Kathleen Wildey

      November 2, 2012 at 12:09 am

      If a democrat gentleman wants to act like a pig, he is much more apt to use the services of a lady of the night or have a mistress on the side. Republicans seem to have a fondness for the more kinky activities. Look it up!!!!!

    • Jere Reiter

      November 2, 2012 at 12:15 am

      Erin O'Boyle – I think Tim is referring to the recent scandal in which a married pro-life conservative pushed his mistress to have an abortion…

    • Steve Sipe

      November 5, 2012 at 5:18 am

      Your out of your mind Kathleen. This sick crap has no political bindings. Anthony Wiener's wiener pictures?

  7. Trinity Dejavu

    November 1, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Always the anti-gay family values conservative authority figures, maybe it's time we started warning our children away from them.

  8. Javier

    November 1, 2012 at 7:43 am

    It always seems like the ones with the strictest “values” are the ones with something to hide. They turn out to be exactly what they preach against. How many so far in the past year? I lose count.

  9. Laurie Rechteger-Craw

    November 1, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    and these republicans are judging gays and lesbians, how shamful, they cast the stones at us.

  10. Grant Devereaux

    November 1, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    It should be noted here, once again, that this is not a gay sex scandal, but a pedophile sex scandal. They are not one and the same – not even close!

    • David Hall

      November 1, 2012 at 7:25 pm

      the thing that gets me (besides the disgusting nature of what he's charged with) is he's an anti-gay family policy type. Aren't those the type you have to watch out for most?

    • Grant Devereaux

      November 1, 2012 at 7:52 pm

      David he no doubt opposes sex between two men. He only engages in sex between a man a boy.

    • David Hall

      November 1, 2012 at 7:58 pm

      You're probably right, and here I thought he was being a hypocrite. We know what kind of 'family activity' he stands for though.

  11. Tatiana Costantinni

    November 1, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    If only there was a cure for the hyper hypocritical goons…..

    • Vicky Hodgson

      November 1, 2012 at 8:06 pm

      We have a lot of right wing pedos over here to!

    • Tatiana Costantinni

      November 1, 2012 at 8:34 pm

      VICKY! I am missing you SOOOOO MUCH!

  12. Max Caston

    November 1, 2012 at 9:14 pm


  13. Karen Tronsgard-Scott

    November 2, 2012 at 10:38 am

    In our rush to rejoice in yet another fallen Republican, lets not lose sight of the little boy who sits wit this abuse for the rest of his life, nor of this guy's family. All are his victims and I'm pretty sure none of them view this as a political story.

  14. Kimberly Mckay

    November 3, 2012 at 2:07 am

    How many times is this going to happen before people realize that anyone that is THAT anti-gay is most likely a closet-case?

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Comings & Goings

Nathanson takes role at Outright Action



Rikki Nathanson

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected] 

The Comings & Goings column also invites LGBTQ+ college students to share their successes with us. If you have been elected to a student government position, gotten an exciting internship, or are graduating and beginning your career with a great job, let us know so we can share your success. 

Congratulations to Rikki Nathanson on her new position as Senior Advisor – Global Trans Program with OutRight Action International in New York. Nathanson will be based in D.C.  

 “I am absolutely thrilled to be taking on this new role as Senior Advisor in OutRight’s Global Trans Program,” said Nathanson. “I have finally found the perfect fit for me: as a trans woman who has been fighting for equality not only for myself, but for others globally, this position is not only a job, it’s intrinsically part of who I am. So, what better way to live, nurture and grow myself.” 

Nathanson will be working closely with all program staff to ensure a cohesive and intentional approach to gender issues throughout OutRight’s programs, including its approach to gender ideology movements. She will lead new initiatives on gender advocacy and policy change, focused but not limited to legal gender recognition and anti-discrimination legislation and policies.

Prior to this Nathanson was director of housing programs at Casa Ruby in D.C. She has also held a number of other positions including: founder/executive director of Trans Research, Education, Advocacy & Training (TREAT), Zimbabwe; chairperson Southern Africa Trans Forum, SATF, Cape Town, South Africa; executive director, Ricochet Modeling Agency, Zimbabwe; and company secretary for Dunlop Zimbabwe Limited, Zimbabwe. 

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SMYAL Director Shakir to step down Dec. 31

Board to launch Executive Search beginning in January



SMYAL Executive Director Sultan Shakir addresses the crowd at the 2021 Fall Brunch. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Sultan Shakir, who has served as executive director of D.C.’s LGBTQ youth advocacy organization SMYAL since August 2014, announced on Friday that he will be stepping down from his position effective Dec. 31.

In a Dec. 3 announcement, SMYAL said details of Shakir’s future career plans would be announced in the coming weeks.

“While we are sad to see Sultan leave, we wish him nothing but the same success in his new endeavor as he had at SMYAL,” said Rob Cogorno, SMYAL’s board chair. “His leadership and vision enabled SMYAL to expand greatly needed services to LGBTQ youth in the DC metro area throughout his tenure,” Cogorno said.

“I am immensely proud of the work we have been able to accomplish together in my time at SMYAL,” Shakir said in a statement released by SMYAL. “SMYAL has been an integral and vital resource in the DMV community for over 37 years, and while we have come a long way in combating homophobia, transphobia, racism, sexual health stigma, homelessness, violence against the LGBTQ community, and oppression, we have a long way to go,” he said.

“This work has never been about one person,” said Shakir. “SMYAL was founded by our community and we’re still around because of our community,” he said. “I leave knowing that the commitment and passion of the SMYAL Board, staff, volunteers, and youth leaders have created a solid foundation from which our work will continue to grow until LGBTQ youth no longer need us.”

The SMYAL statement says that under Shakir’s tenure, SMYAL, which stands for Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders, expanded its programs and services for LGBTQ youth. Among other things, in 2017 SMYAL opened its first of several housing facilities for homeless LGBTQ youth that include culturally competent case management, education and employment assistance.

“The Youth Housing Program now comprises five programmatic models that serve a combined 61 youth residents,” the statement says.

It points out that also under Shakir’s leadership, SMYAL expanded the age range of the youth its programs serve under a new Little SMYALs program, which welcomes LGBTQ youth ages 6-12. And earlier in 2021 under Shakir’s guidance, SMYAL began a new Clinical Services Department “which provides affirming and accessible mental health counseling,” the statement says.

“The SMYAL Board of Directors will officially launch an Executive Search beginning in January 2022 and expects to have named a new Executive Director by summer 2022,” the statement says. It says the board will soon name an interim executive director to work with SMYAL’s Deputy Executive Director, Jorge Membreno, and the organization’s leadership team to oversee the day-to-day activities until a new executive director is named.

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Rainbow History Project to honor LGBTQ ‘Pioneers’

Virtual celebration to take place on Dec. 9



David Mariner, gay news, Washington Blade
David Mariner (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

D.C.’s Rainbow History Project says it will honor and recognize 12 individuals and one organization by designating them as Community Pioneers “for their diverse contributions to the Washington-area LGBTQ community” at a Dec. 9 virtual celebration.

“Rainbow History Project is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to collecting, preserving and sharing the LGBT history of metropolitan Washington, D.C.,” the group says in a statement announcing the event. “The Pioneers awards recognize diverse community leaders for their roles as organizational founders, innovators, advocates and volunteers,” the statement says.

“The Pioneers celebration will be held virtually and is designed with special features that reproduce the feeling of attending in-person, such as live streaming and video chatting with other attendees and Pioneers before and after the core awards programing,” according to the statement.

“Celebrating our Community Pioneers has been a cherished tradition since Rainbow History Project’s founding 21 years ago,” said Rob Berger, the organization’s chairperson. “It’s always an inspiring event, and we are happy that our virtual platform will still allow participants to meet and talk with the Pioneers,” Berger said in the statement.

The virtual event is free and open to the public, the statement says. Organizers released this link for those interested in attending, saying a short registration process may require registering in advance. 

Remo Conference

Following is the list of Community Pioneers scheduled to be honored at the Dec. 9 event as released by Rainbow History Project along with the project’s description of their backgrounds.

Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance, a local group that since its founding has addressed equal rights issues for LGBTQ Virginians from a state and local perspective.

– Eboné F. Bell, founder and editor-in-chief of Tagg Magazine and Tagg Communication LLC.

Bart Forbes, founding member of “Gay Fairfax,” a pioneering television newsmagazine program in Northern Virginia.

– Ellen Kahan, youth and family advocate, president of Rainbow Families, former director of the Lesbian Services Program at Whitman-Walker Health, and currently senior director of programs and partnerships at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

– Theodore Kirkland (deceased), a co-founder of D.C. Black Pride in 1991, member of the Gay Liberation Front and Skyline Faggots, active community health volunteer and advocate.

– Paul Marengo, community leader through LGBTQ organizations including Reel Affirmations, Cherry Fund, and Pride celebrations for youth, Latino, Black and Transgender communities.

– David Mariner, executive director of CAMP Rehoboth, and former executive director of the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community.

– Mark Meinke founder longtime chair, Rainbow History Project, and co-founder of Rainbow Heritage Network, a national organization for the recognition and preservation of sites, history and heritage associated with sexual and gender minorities.

– Michael “Micci” Sainte Andress, artist, health educator and advocate and an early leader in bringing African Americans into HIV/AIDS clinical trials.

– Boden Sandstrom, founder and owner of Woman Sound (later City Sound), the first all-woman sound company, which makes LGBTQ rights rallies and the women’s music scene possible.

Casse Culver (deceased), nationally acclaimed D.C. lesbian feminist singer-songwriter, and partner of Boden Sandstrom, whose followers said her love songs and feminist lyrics moved audiences from foot stomping to silent reflection.  

Alan Sharpe, playwright, director and co-founder of the African American Collective Theater in Washington, D.C., in 1976, which now focuses on LGBTQ life and culture in the Black community.

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