Terry Bean, a prominent gay rights activist who has raised at least half a million for President Obama’s 2012 re-election bid, has been formally charged with sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy.
Portland, Oregon, police arrested 66-year-old Terrence Patrick Bean on Wednesday. According to Oregon Live, Bean’s ex-boyfriend, 25-year-old Kiah L. Lawson, was also arrested in connection to the alleged abuse. The website reports that the two are currently accused of setting up a meeting with the teenager on the gay dating app Grindr, after which Bean allegedly sexually abused the boy at the Eugene Hotel with Lawson filming the whole incident.
A Lane County jury indicted the two on two counts of third-degree sodomy and one count of third-degree sexual abuse. Lawson pleaded not guilty last Friday to all charges while Bean, on bail, is set to make his court appearance on December 3.
Jeffrey Dickey, Lawson’s former lawyer, says he was surprised by the indictment, adding that his former client was instrumental in helping police officers locate the teenager.
“The surprising thing to me is Kiah was indicted in this case because it was Kiah who helped authorities find this kid. If someone is going to cooperate and be helpful for the police there should be some kind of reward for that. It could have a chilling effect on others coming forward.”
Terry Bean’s lawyer, Kristen Winemiller, assured officials that her client will give his full cooperation. According to the Daily Mail, Winemiller says Bean has been the victim of an extortion ring for months, and that no allegations against the gay activist “should be taken at face value.”
“Over the course of several months in 2013-2014 Terry was the victim of an extortion ring led by several men known to law enforcement. This current arrest is connected to the ongoing investigation of that case in which Mr Bean has fully cooperated. No allegations against Terry Bean should be taken at face value. We look forward to the opportunity to clear his name.”
Some critics have blamed Grindr for its lenient regulations on verifying its users’ ages. Whether Bean or Lawson knew the age of the boy is yet to be determined by further investigations.
In an unrelated case in New Jersey, a man has filed a lawsuit against the dating app, blaming its alleged lack of proper age verifying tools for his recent arrest involving sexual intercourse with a teenage boy.
Terry Bean is a prominent Democrat fundraiser was highly influential during President Obama’s campaign for a second term. Bean co-founded several LGBT organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.
[Image from Katrina Cole/Flickr]