Prominent LGBT activist, Democratic donor, and strong supporter of Barack Obama, Terry Bean, was indicted earlier this month on two counts of sodomy and one count of sex abuse against a teenage boy.
According to Fox News, the Human Rights Campaign co-founder pleaded not guilty on Thursday after being arraigned for the charges, and was taken into custody at Lane County jail in Oregon. The indictment was made on January 4, but was not made public until Thursday.
Fox News details the long and difficult task that prosecutors faced after Bean was first charged with sexual abuse in 2014:
Bean, a gay rights activist who donated almost $70,000 of his own money to former President Barack Obama’s campaign, was charged with sexual abuse in 2014 but the case was dismissed after the alleged victim did not testify. Prosecutors refiled the charges after this, court records stated, according to The Oregonian. The “alleged victim is not named in the new indictment” but the dates are similar to the previous charges, KGW8 noted.
Bean, a real estate developer, and his former boyfriend, Kiah Lawson, allegedly had sex with a 15-year-old boy in a Eugene, Oregon, hotel in September 2013. They allegedly used the app Grindr to arrange the sexual encounter. Lawson was also charged but his case was dismissed.
After the 2014 arrest, the mainstream media remained relatively silent about the charges against Bean. Portland’s KOIN-6, however, did an interview with one of Bean’s neighbors, who boldly proclaimed that he saw the Democratic donor frequently courting several underage boys while living next door.
“The ones that Terry likes are the young ones,” said neighbor Jeff Warila in 2014. “They look like they’re under 18 for sure. And his friends come and they’re usually adults, but when Terry comes he has these boys with him. And I’m like [thinking], ‘That’s weird.'”
When the story initially broke, the mother of Bean’s former 25-year-old boyfriend told KOIN-6 that Bean “groomed” her son with “alcohol and Viagra” in order to “get [Bean] young kids.” She said her son went from “a happy young man” to “someone who is not himself” after meeting Bean.
Derek Ashton, Bean’s lawyer, said in an emailed statement to KGW8 this week that his client fell prey to a “blackmail scam.”
“This case is a continuation of the 2014 blackmail scam by [Lawson] and others, including today’s accuser,” said Ashton. “Bean is the victim and he has paid enough. We will see them in court.”
According to KGW8, Bean continually donated to Democratic politicians after the 2014 charges were dropped, including Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty and head of the Portland Parks and Recreation Department and Bureau of Environmental Services Nick Fish. While Hardesty declined to comment, Nick Fish said that as long as Bean is presumed innocent, he will not return the donation.
“In my campaign, I’ve raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for my various campaigns,” Fish told the outlet. “Terry Bean is one of thousands of donors and he is a leader in the civil rights community. He has been indicted which means there’s a charge against him but he’s presumed innocent. I do not plan on returning a contribution now, but I reserve the right to change my opinion based on what happens in this criminal matter.”
The Washington Times reports that Terry Bean raised more than half a million dollars to help re-elect President Obama in 2012, flew on Air Force One, and visited the White House on at least six occasions.