State Dismisses Criminal Sex Abuse Charges Against Terry Bean

The long-running prosecution of the real estate investor and gay rights pioneer comes to an end after the alleged victim declines to participate in Bean’s trial.

The long-running criminal prosecution of Portland real estate investor and gay rights pioneer Terry Bean came to an abrupt end today when the state moved to dismiss sex abuse charges against him.

“After a judicial settlement conference on December 27, 2021, before the Hon. Jean Maurer, the alleged victim in this matter communicated to me unequivocally that he has relocated out of state, and he no longer wishes to participate in this pending prosecution,” Lane County deputy district attorney Erik Hasselman wrote in court filings today.

The case goes all the way back to a 2014 WW cover story that detailed Bean’s tangled personal life. At the time, Bean, co-founder of the Washington, D.C., Human Rights Campaign and one of the largest Oregon fundraisers for President Barack Obama and other Democratic politicians, had recently ended a relationship with a man named Kiah Lawson.

Lawson and Bean would both later be indicted for sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy in Eugene in 2013. Lawson was convicted of that crime in 2019. His conviction was later reversed on appeal and he case was sent back to circuit court for a second trial. And after a series of developments and delays, Bean’s trial was set for 2022. Now, that will not happen.

“On December 28, 2021, the alleged victim’s attorneys reiterated in writing that for a variety of personal reasons, the alleged victim wished this office to resolve the pending matters against the defendant without a conviction in the case at bar,” Hasselman wrote.

“Given the alleged victim is an adult, represented by counsel, and has clearly expressed a desire not to participate in the pending prosecutions of the defendant, the State respectfully requests this Honorable Court dismiss this pending Indictment, in the interests of justice.”

The case is set to be dismissed early this afternoon. A related Lane County criminal charge connected to Bean’s use of a computer to subvert the case against him was also resolved.

Updated at 9:54 am Jan 15: The state on Friday also dismissed the computer-related charge against Bean in exchange for Bean admitting to contempt of court.

“Pursuant to negotiations, the defendant has admitted and been sentenced for contempt of court,” Hasselman wrote in court filings.

Bean’s attorney issued a brief statement after the court proceedings.

“Terry Bean has continually maintained his innocence and is pleased the state has dismissed all criminal charges,” Steven Sherlag said.