Old charges come back to haunt Ben Westlund. But is it fair?

The Associated Press reports a confidential letter detailing a 2-year old harassment charge included more harassment than previously reported.

Is it fair to bring this up? No it is not for three reasons. First of all, Westlund admitted his errors. Most politicians don’t. Second, the victim, a fellow State Representative, has acknowledged that the issue is resolved and is good friends with Westlund. Third, bringing up such private controversial matters can have the unexpected result of throwing the victim a new set of problems. When sexual harassment charges get tossed around by outside parties it can lead to other women being afraid to pursue their complaints.

A sense of confidentiality, privacy and the right to self-direction by the victim to pursue resolution that meets their personal values is important when looking at harassment cases.

  • Eddie Hog

    Good to see Oregon Catalyst take a level view of things and approach politics from a positive, constructive angle. (Should be noted that the events are 10 years old… the story is 2 years old.)

    Now let’s get back to focusing on the respective candidates’ records and their plans for the office!

    • Crawdude

      Much like the DNC and their media minions, took it lite on 20 years old accusations about Packwood. I think I’d like to know the truth about Westlund.

  • John Fairplay

    Now all we have to do is get the Democrats to apply the same standard to mis-steps by Republican candidates, and we’ll really have something.

  • RinoWatch

    This is exactly what’s wrong. One side plays nice and the other….

  • Anonymous

    Westlund admitted his errors? What a bunch of baloney. Westlund tried to say in 2006 that it was a hug and according to this it was three episodes. That is a long hug.

    Worst, it was a legislative staffer. While she is a legislator now, this is someone who felt harassed enough to file a letter with the clerk of the House — that is not private. This is a public record and an act by a public official.

    The fact that Westlund lied and tried to cover this up is disturbing.

    • aramis

      “Westlund tried to say in 2006 that it was a hug” No, it was Debbie Boone, the target of his unwelcome advances, who described it that way. She’s told the press she did that because she didn’t want to go public with the embarrassing details. And she’s very angry that her memo, which was supposed to remain confidential, was leaked. Why isn’t there an investigation under way to find out who leaked it?

  • Feminists Unite!

    Debi Boone sure is a poster child for feminism. My goodness! Talk about spineless. How can she file a complaint about a guy who reaches up her skirt, rubs her leg, and tells her the “harass” is two words then totally try to run from it now that the creep is a member of her own party? No wonder the lobbyist run things with bowls of Jello like these two.

  • Anonymous

    Admitted errors? I’m sure the people running Catalyst usually wear pants, but I’m also pretty sure you can understand basic fashion and realize that a hug involves arms around the torso…….not up a skirt. Sounds like he lied a couple of years ago to cover something up.

    However – having said that – this alone shouldn’t necessarily mean Ben isn’t the right guy to be our next treasurer. The fact that he’s completely unqualified ought to be reason enough.

  • Tigard Don

    Anonymous says “Westlund tried to say in 2006 that it was a hug”

    Umm… No… DEBBIE BOONE said in 2006 that it was a hug. Westlund said that there was an incident that he apologized for. Sounds like Debbie Boone shared what she felt comfortable sharing and someone released this confidential letter against her wishes. (And personal letters are NOT public record. Apparently there was no formal complaint lodged.) What happened to the right of self-direction?

    It sounds to me like Boone and Westlund handled this like two adults and Boone expected her privacy to be honored, since she was the one who described the event in 2006.

    … and lest we forget, Debbie Boone and Ben Westlund were political rivals in 2006, with her campaigning for Kulongoski (against Westlund). Whatever she said in 2006 wasn’t politically motivated.

  • HW

    It is Debbie who is being harassed by this new ‘confidential’ letter being released. This story needs to go away.

    If Westlund were a Republican everyone here would be defending him. We shouldn’t trade in our principles for a false sense of politcal gain.

    • RinoWatch

      “If Westlund were a Republican everyone here would be defending him.

      You’re wrong, dead wrong! I’m a Republican and I don’t give a damn what party a jerk like Westlund or anyone else like him belongs to.

  • SalemWatcher

    Where there is smoke, there is a fire.

    Does anyone think that Debbie’s butt was the only one that got grabbed? I’m sorry she got drug into this mess. I really am. But it isn’t about her. It’s about him and his absolutely crap-ass judgement and character. There are other women with very similar stories, so don’t spin this tale of a bull-semen salesman with a hayseed in his hair thinking this was just how things were done in the Big City…and who got himself on the straight and narrow after realizing the error of his ways.

    And remember, Westlund had no intention of winning the governor’s seat. He was only in it for critical support from Kulongoski after he “withdrew,” and to raise his profile for this current race. Geez, people….get with the program. This is politics, for crying out loud – and it ain’t always pretty.

  • Coyote

    No NOT everyone here would be defending Westlund if he were a Republican. Quite the contrary. If you have not noticed but when a Republican is found to be sleazy or breaking the law it is REPUBLICANS at the base to usually rise up to oust them.

    Yet when it happens with Democrats the Democrat establishment rises up to protect them: Kennedy, Kennedy, William Jefferson, Bill Clinton, Jim McDermott, Neil Goldschmidt, etc…

  • HW

    It is funny that Westlund was a Republican.

    I do not recall any major Democrat or progressive figure who defended Goldschmidt.

    • Tim Lyman

      I’d say covering up the rape of a child, as the state’s liberal elites did for twenty years, is a pretty effective defense.

      • CRAWDUDE

        Not to mention the big O and the rest of the biased liberal media called his repeated rape of a 14 year old girl ” an affair “.

  • HW

    Those people who knew about Goldschmidt were his inner-circle friends and kept it hush. That is different than a Democrat figure standing up and saying he is innocent or that it was too long ago. The Democrats in Oregon were very responsible in how they handled they handled the affair.


      It wasn’t an “affair” , it was the repeated rape of a minor by a pedophile.

  • RinoWatch

    And just who are “The Democrats in Oregon were very responsible in how they handled they handled the affair.”?

    The ‘inner-circle friends” was certainly lousy with Democrats, including Kulongoski, who didn’t hear nuthin’…

    Please quit insulting us with your nonsense.