A special prosecutor in Oregon last week filed court papers accusing gay rights leader, real estate developer and Democratic Party contributor Terry Bean, 66, of allegedly having sex with a 16-year-old male in 1979.
The new allegation came seven months after Bean pleaded not guilty in December to unrelated charges that he and his then boyfriend, Kiah Lawson, 25, allegedly had sex with a 15-year-old male at a Eugene hotel in September 2013.
In yet another twist to the case, the new allegation surfaced less than a week after the youth with whom Bean and Lawson allegedly had sex in 2013 filed a court affidavit asking that the charges against Bean be dismissed.
According to the Register-Guard, a newspaper in Eugene, the 15-year-old stated in the affidavit that he and Bean reached a civil agreement that calls for the charges of sodomy and sexual abuse filed against Bean in connection with that case to be dropped.
The special prosecutor, Scott Healy, expressed opposition to the agreement, the Register-Guard reports. It also reports that in separate court papers Healy said prosecutors would use information about Bean’s alleged 1979 sexual encounter with the 16-year-old to strengthen the current case involving the 15-year-old.
The newspaper reported that prosecutors would most likely not press charges against Bean for the alleged 1979 incident because the statute of limitations for that type of offense has expired.
Developments surrounding the charges pending against Bean have placed strains on Bean’s longstanding role as one of the nation’s most prominent gay Democratic Party operatives. Bean helped raise more than $500,000 for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign and has traveled with Obama on Air Force One.
Bean announced shortly after his arrest in November on the sex-with-a-minor allegation that he would step down as a member of the board of the Human Rights Campaign, which he helped to found in the 1980s, while his legal problems are pending.
Lane County Circuit Court Judge Charles M. Zennache was expected to consider and possibly rule next week on a motion filed by Bean’s attorney calling for the case to be dismissed based on the agreement reached between Bean and the 15-year-old.
“The law allows a civil compromise in this case,” the Portland Oregonian quoted Bean’s lawyer, Derek Ashton, as saying. “However the special prosecutor is objecting for dubious reasons,” the Oregonian quoted him as saying.
“The special prosecutor has aggressively sought evidence against Mr. Bean, and relied on untrustworthy witnesses recruited by Kiah Lawson as part of his ring’s attempt at extortion,” Ashton told the newspaper.
He was referring to allegations by Bean that Lawson hatched a scheme to extort money from him following an acrimonious breakup between the two in 2014. The Oregonian reported that an attorney representing Lawson said it was Lawson who put police in touch with the 15-year-old, prompting police to open an investigation that led to the arrests of Bean and Lawson.
The Oregonian reported that Lawson’s lawyer recounted that Lawson and Bean met the 15-year-old through the social network Grindr. The mobile phone app is well known as a place where gay and bisexual men meet to arrange for sexual encounters.
In December, Kristen Winemiller, another attorney representing Bean, said Bean “absolutely did not have sex with a minor.” She reiterated earlier assertions she made to the media that Bean was the victim of an “extortion ring” organized by Lawson.
“The latest charge being made by the special prosecutor to the court is about a man who alleges that 36 years ago, Mr. Bean and his now deceased former partner had sexual relations with him when he was underage,” Ashton told the Oregonian. “Since Mr. Bean’s partner died of AIDS 25 years ago, there is no other witness to deny this scurrilous charge and the prosecutor knows this.”
The Register-Guard reports that Special Prosecutor Healy outlined the allegations about the alleged 1979 incident in a 25-page document filed in court on July 8. The newspaper says the court filing identifies the alleged victim as a doctor who currently lives in California.
The Oregonian reports that Healy states in his court filing that the California man told authorities he met Bean at a time when his parents were unaccepting of his homosexuality and he became impressed with Bean’s wealth and his home.
“Bean abruptly ended their relationship in December 1979 and the man attempted suicide in 1980 by overdosing on painkillers, according to the court filing,” the Oregonian reports.
“The man said he came forward because he was concerned that Bean’s significant resources would allow Bean to get out of the present situation with ‘minimal damage,’ the Oregonian reports the prosecutor’s statement as saying.
A clerk at the Lane County Circuit Court in Eugene told the Washington Blade that it would take at least 10 days by postal mail to obtain a copy of the public court documents filed in connection with the Bean case. The court’s website says an electronic document retrieval system was recently put in place to obtain documents, but the application process for utilizing that system takes about 10 days to complete.