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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 4, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 36
Case dropped against big-time Gay donor
Terry Bean off the hook
Section One
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Case dropped against big-time Gay donor
Terry Bean off the hook

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A child sexual abuse case against political money-man and Gay rights activist Terry Bean was dismissed by Oregon Judge Jay McAlpin on September 1.

Bean and his then-boyfriend, Kiah Lawson, were accused of hooking up with a 15-year-old boy on Grindr and having sex with him in a hotel room in September 2013.

Bean helped found the HRC, the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, and the National Gay Games. He is also a fundraiser for the Democratic Party and its candidates, including President Obama.

As expected, Judge McAlpin ruled that since the alleged victim in the case could not be located to testify against Bean, prosecutors had no case.

All sides in the controversial court case then issued conflicting statements.

Bean said that he 'was falsely accused and completely innocent of every accusation that was made.' He thanked supporters and said 'I look forward to being able to tell the story of this conspiracy of lies, deceit, blackmail, malicious prosecution, and homophobia now that this case has ended.'

His attorney, Derek Ashton, told reporters that Bean was not present in the hotel room when the alleged sexual encounter happened in September 2013, a detail that had not previously been reported.

Ashton went on to charge that Lawson - Bean's ex-boyfriend - tried to set him up with an under-age date as part of an extortion scheme.

'If we had our day in Court, we are certain Mr. Bean would have been found to be innocent of the charges based on four important facts,' the attorney's statement said.

'Terry Bean left the hotel room before anything happened, after being set up there by Kiah Lawson. We had a witness who would have attested to the fact that he left. As proof that this was all about money in the first place, we have proof that Kiah Lawson led the police to this young man [the alleged victim] last year. But before he did, he and his accomplice Jeff Dickey had numerous contacts with him to get their stories straight and on their advice, the young man in question sought a civil attorney to make a financial claim before the police were ever involved.'

Lane County Chief Deputy District Attorney Erik Hasselman, one of two prosecutors in the case, later charged in an interview that Bean had offered to pay the alleged victim $200,000 to settle his complaint, but the deal had been vetoed by Judge Charles Zennache.

This detail was also not previously known because Zennache cleared his courtroom before taking up the settlement offer and subsequently ordered records of the court hearing sealed.

However, Hasselman's fellow prosecutor, Clackamas County Deputy District Attorney Scott Healy, publicly accused Bean of paying off the alleged victim. Healy also said Bean could 'potentially' face charges in connection with an unspecified, ongoing investigation.

The alleged victim, now 17 and identified in court papers only as MSG, maintained through his attorney, Lori Deveny, that he did indeed have sex with Bean, but he refused to participate in the trial because he'd been mistreated by police and prosecutors.

'My client is relieved this is finally over,' Deveny said in a statement.

'He did not seek out this prosecution and made his unwillingness to testify known at every step in the process. The special prosecutor, Mr. Healy, suggested to the court my client was unwilling to testify because he was being paid. This is completely false. My client was bullied and manipulated by Detective Myers. He was threatened with incarceration by Special Prosecutor Healy when he refused to be bullied into testifying. My client wants no part of this prosecution and never did.'

Deveny told the court that MSG was 'distraught' that his sexual orientation was disclosed to his family, friends and co-workers by the state's lead investigator.

'My client was outed by the detective in this case,' Deveny said. 'That undermined his support system.'

Kiah Lawson was 24 when he and Bean met in 2013. Bean courted him with trips to Palm Springs, the Dominican Republic, Italy, and a visit to President Obama at the White House. Lawson moved into Bean's condo and was reportedly paid about $400 a week by Bean, according to Lawson's attorney Jeffrey Dickey.

Dickey alleged that Lawson began to have second thoughts about their relationship when he discovered that Bean was secretly taping their sexual encounters. Dickey and Lawson then sent Bean a letter seeking $40,000 from Bean, presented as damages for the surreptitious videotaping of their encounters.

Dickey said he had reached a deal with Bean's lawyer, but it fell apart after Willamette Week published a story about it in June 2014. Bean then went to police and the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office, charging that the letter from Dickey and Lawson amounted to an extortion plot.

Lawson faces four counts of sex abuse in a separate case in which he allegedly had sex with a then-17-year-old boy in 2013.

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