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Monday, January 22, 2024

The Terry Bean Sexual Abuse Case

      In 2014 Terry Bean, the 66-year-old Portland, Oregon real estate developer, co-founder of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and  prominent member of an organization called the Human Rights Campaign, had friends in high places.

      Mr. Bean had friends in positions of power because he was a big-time fund raiser (bundler) for politicians in the democrat party. He raised $500,000 for President Obama's 2012 re-election and shoveled money into the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Terry Bean also gave President Obama $70,000.

     Bean's political money funneling resulted in several visits to the White House, a trip on Air Force One and photograph-taking sessions with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

     At a 2009 Human Rights Campaign dinner President Obama thanked Mr. Bean, calling him a "great friend and supporter." 

     In 2013 Terry Bean and his 25-year-old boyfriend Kiah Lawson were photographed together under a picture of George Washington in the White House library. Not long after that the couple experienced a nasty break-up. The fractured relationship would cause both men a lot of problems.

     In 2014 investigators with the Portland Police Department's Sex Crime Unit began looking into allegations made by Kiah Lawson that Bean had secretly made video tapes of men having sex in his bedroom. When questioned by detectives Mr. Bean returned the favor by accusing Lawson of using these videotapes to blackmail him for money.

     The Bean/Lawson sex/extortion investigation took a darker turn when Kiah Lawson confessed that he and Bean had used the iPhone app Grindr to arrange a sexual encounter with a 15-year-old boy, a tryst that took place, according to Lawson, on September 27, 2013 at a hotel in Eugene, Oregon.

     In late November 2014 a Lane County grand jury indicted Bean and Lawson on counts of third-degree sodomy and third-degree sexual abuse. Following their arrests the suspects made bail and were released from custody.

     One of Bean's attorneys, Kristen Winemiller, told reporters that her client was the true victim in the case. She said, "Over the course of several months in 2013 and 2014 Terry Bean was the victim of an extortion ring led by several men known to law enforcement. His current arrest was connected to the ongoing investigation of that case in which Mr. Bean has fully cooperated. No allegation against Terry Bean should be taken at face value."

     On September 1, 2015 Terry Bean offered the alleged victim $225,000 as a civil court settlement.  In return the San Diego teen agreed not to cooperate with the prosecution. Lane County Deputy District Attorney Erik Hasselman told the judge that without the boy's cooperation the state could not go forward with the prosecution. Shortly thereafter Circuit Judge Jay McAlpin dismissed the case against the prominent gay activist.

     In speaking to reporters prosecutor Hasselman said, "I think this result offends justice."

     In a written statement Terry Bean wrote, "I take some measure of comfort that the world knows what I've always known--that I was falsely accused and completely innocent of every accusation that was made."

     In 2018 the alleged victim, now 20-years-old, came forward and agreed to testify against Terry Bean and Kiah Lawson. In January 2019 Bean and Lawson were re-indicted on the same charges. Eight months later a Lane County jury, based on the testimony of the victim, found Kiah Lawson guilty as charged. The judge sentenced him to two years in prison. 

     In October 2019, the judge postponed Terry Bean's trial to the spring of 2020. That year a state appeals court overturned Kiah Lawson's conviction.
     In January 2022, after the alleged rape victim declined to testify against Terry Bean the Lane County prosecutor dismissed the case against him.

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