Oregon remains safe for sexual predators

Dan Lucas_July 2012_BW

by Dan Lucas

Ughh. Charges were recently dismissed against 67-year-old Terry Bean, who had been “indicted for sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy in 2013.”

Willamette Week reported “The reason for the dismissal was that the alleged victim declined to testify as a witness against Bean in court.” According to The Oregonian “The boy doesn’t want to testify and attempted suicide because he’s traumatized by the prospect of being forced into court.” Bean had agreed to pay the teenage boy $225,000 and to be tested for a “quite extensive” series of STD as part of a civil settlement to get the charges dropped.

Bean was the top Oregon fundraiser for President Obama, has flown on Air Force One, and has also been a fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D), the wife of David Wu’s former lawyer.

Undeterred by the charges, Portland area Democrats still accepted a $5,000 donation from Bean and were planning to hold a VIP party for the Multnomah County Democrats at Bean’s home. The same Portland area Democrats who voted in Sam Adams, Neil Goldschmidt, David Wu and then the wife of Wu’s lawyer.

Maybe it’s telling that millions of gallons of raw sewage still run into the Willamette in Portland.

At the Oregon capitol, state Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) successfully blocked an effort this past session to increase the statute of limitations in Oregon for rape from 6 years to 20 years, using his position as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. It ended up only being increased to 12 years. The NY Times reported that half of all states “have no statute of limitations on rape at all.” His odd resistance caused a victim of Portland’s jogger rapist to ask “Why is Senator Prozanski protecting rapists?”

Unfortunately, there was dead silence coming from all the strong women Democrats in the Oregon Legislature and from Gov. Kate Brown. Apparently they are not willing to stand up for rape victims – not willing to stand up to fellow Democrat Prozanski.

Another area where Oregon is failing to keep people safe from sexual predators is in all the untested rape kits. A July article in The Oregonian reported that there are more than 5,000 rape kits “languishing in police evidence rooms across Oregon.”

A recent headline in the Eugene Register-Guard said “Lack of state funds, staffing to blame for failure to test thousands of rape kits from Oregon victims.” The article noted “testing typically costs well over $1,000 per kit” and “in Oregon, rape kits sent for testing ultimately go to the Oregon State Police crime lab in Salem.”

It’s really a matter of priorities, isn’t it?

The Oregon State Police has the staffing and funding to conduct an extensive political witch hunt against a whistleblower for several months – extensive enough to generate a 1,502-page report – but they don’t have the staffing and funding to test rape kits? It would be interesting to find out how much that witch hunt cost and how many rape kits could have been tested with that money.

That witch hunt was started just hours after Kate Brown was sworn in as governor back on February 18, 2015. Brown then waited 3.5 months before saying it wasn’t in the public’s interest to prosecute the whistleblower. The very next day, prosecutors announced the whistleblower wouldn’t face criminal charges. Why did Gov. Brown wait so long? How many rape kits could have been tested with the money she allowed to be wasted?

According to a 2010 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey, Oregon has the second worst rate of rape and sexual violence against women in the nation. In 2013, The Oregonian reported that Oregon has the most registered sex offenders per capita of any state except one.

Hopefully, someday Oregonians will decide they actually want to do something to make Oregon safer from sexual predators, including those in powerful political positions. Until then, there will be a continuing sad trail of more victims.

UPDATE (Sept 2015) – Oregon has received news of $4 million in grants to help work through the backlog of rape kits – but the grants will only be going to 3 of Oregon’s 36 counties.

UPDATE (Sept 14, 2015) – Willamette Week: Multnomah County Democrats Accept Another Contribution from Terry Bean

To read more from Dan, visit www.dan-lucas.com