Prosecutors say Portland real-estate developer and Democratic Party activist Terry Bean is trying to "purchase an escape" from criminal sex-abuse charges by paying off a teenage boy, his alleged victim.
Bean hopes to persuade a Lane County judge July 16 to drop the charges against him because his alleged victim doesn't want to go forward with the case.
Bean's legal move has brought a backlash from prosecutors, who in court documents describe graphic evidence they say shows Bean has a history of having sex with underage boys.
The legal fight has surfaced less than a month before Bean is set to stand trial for two counts of third-degree sodomy, a felony, and one count of sexual abuse in the third degree, a misdemeanor, allegedly involving a 15-year-old boy in 2013. Bean, who was charged in November 2014, has pleaded not guilty.
Bean disclosed in court records July 2 that he's reached a settlement with his accuser.
Such settlements, called civil compromises, are sometimes used in low-level criminal cases and require a judge's approval to have charges dismissed. It's rare for such settlements to win dismissal of felony sex abuse charges, especially involving minors.
The document filed July 14 by prosecutors says the settlement Bean has reached with this alleged victim includes a cash payment. The filing doesn't give an amount.
"From the defendant's point of view, if you can get a dismissal of a charge quickly by paying the complaining party money or doing service or taking a class, then that's a home run," says longtime Portland defense attorney Alan Karpinski. "You can expect the district attorney to get in there and pound his shoe on the table."
Bean became a millionaire through real-estate deals in Eugene and Portland, and then went on to become a prominent player in state politics. Bean is a co-founder of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay rights organization. He was the largest Oregon fundraiser for President Barack Obama's two election victories, has visited Obama in the White House and flew with the president on Air Force One.
Prosecutors have sought to introduce into Bean's trial "prior bad acts" that they say show a pattern of abuse.
The prosecutors' July 14 filing describes an inmate at Deer Ridge Correctional Institution in Madras who says Bean paid him $150 for sexual acts in 1992 and 1993, when he was 18 and worked in Bean's Lake Oswego real-estate office.
The man says when he considered filing a workplace harassment claim, Bean offered to pay him $10,000.
In court records filed July 8, prosecutors introduced evidence dating back to 1979. They say Bean, then 30, engaged in sex with a teenager, providing the 16-year-old with alcohol and drugs. The court documents allege Bean and his adult partner at the time both had sex with the teenager. The alleged victim later tried to kill himself after Bean broke off the relationship, court records say.
The alleged victim is now a 52-year-old doctor in California who says he stepped forward because he wanted to help make sure Bean did not âkeep on abusing young boys.â In court documents, he expressed concern Bean had the money to escape criminal charges with âminimal damage.â
Bean's attorney, Derek Ashton, didn't respond by WW's deadlines to questions about the July 14 filing. (See his response here.) He called prosecutors' earlier use of allegations from four decades ago "defamation."
"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," Ashton said in a statement about the prosecutors' July 8 filing.
Ashton said that the other player in the current charges, Bean's former boyfriend Kiah Lawson, has been attempting to extort Bean for the past two years.
According to prosecutors, Bean and Lawson traveled to Eugene for a University of Oregon Ducks football game against California on Sept. 28, 2013. The night before, according to court records, Bean and Lawson contacted the 15-year-old via Grindr, a gay male hookup app.
Bean and Lawson, prosecutors allege, met the minor at a west Eugene 7-Eleven and then drove him in Bean's Mercedes to the Valley River Inn, where they had sex with him before calling him a cab and giving him $40.