PORTLAND, Ore. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A prominent pro-LGBT activist has been arrested amid allegations of bribing a sex abuse victim to remain silent.
High-profile Democrat donor Terry Bean, who co-founded the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBT activist group, was arrested by Portland police on Oct. 30 in connection with charges of sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy. Bean's former defense lawyer, Derek Ashton, was arrested a few hours earlier. Both Bean and Ashton posted bail later that day.
They were arrested on charges of felony computer crime for allegedly conspiring to pay off the young man accusing Bean of sex crimes.
Bean is a real estate developer with a long history of left-wing activism. Along with co-founding the Human Rights Campaign, he also helped establish the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, and was a prominent fundraiser for President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign.
His current defense lawyer, Steven Sherlag, said in a statement, "Mr. Bean unequivocally denies all of the state's claims and their attendant innuendo."
News of Bean's arrest follows his re-indictment in January on charges of sodomy and sexual abuse of a minor. Bean and his then-boyfriend Kiah Lawson are accused of sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy in a motel room in 2013.
The victim alleges that Lawson and Bean connected with him through LGBT dating app Grindr, picked him up in Bean's car and went to a motel, where they performed various sexual acts.
At the time of the alleged incident, Bean was 65 and his boyfriend Lawson was 24.
In September this year, Lawson was sentenced to two years in prison on charges of sex abuse.
Bean, meanwhile, pleaded not guilty to the charges back in January, and is expected to stand trial later this month.
At Lawson's sentencing, the victim read a statement which called on Lawson and Bean to stop blaming him and take responsibility for their actions.
After criminal charges were filed in court, Bean offered a $220,000 payment to the teenager in exchange for dropping the charges. The judge on the case would not allow the agreement, and set the trial for August 2015.
But Bean made a $220,000 payment anyway, ostensibly to avoid a potential lawsuit.
The alleged victim vanished, postponing the trial. When the victim was located, he refused to testify. The charges were then dismissed on Sept. 1, 2015 "without prejudice" — meaning the case could be re-opened in the future if new evidence emerged.
Bean has always denied the charges.
"I was falsely accused and completely innocent of every accusation that was made," Bean said back in 2015 when the criminal charges were dismissed. "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."
Bean filed a $2 million lawsuit against the prosecutor and the police in September this year, but withdrew the lawsuit just one week later. The complaint accused Portland detective Jeff Myers, Lane County Deputy District Attorney Erik Hasselman and civil attorney Sean Riddell of conspiring to coax the alleged victim into testifying against Bean.
His lawyer, Clifford Davidson, said of withdrawing the suit, "Mr. Bean stands behind everything stated in the complaint."
Davidson added, "However, at this time, he has decided to focus on his defense rather than a new lawsuit."