Court throws out sex abuse case against gay rights pioneer Terry Bean
A court has thrown out sex abuse charges made against a veteran gay rights activist – after his trial collapsed when no accuser came forward.
Terry Bean is a gay rights pioneer who co-founded a number of groups, including the Human Rights Campaign, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, the National Gay Games, and the LGBT for Obama campaign.
The 66-year-old – who was previously a close personal friend of President Obama – was arrested last year over allegations that he and his partner had sex with a minor in 2013.
He had pleaded not guilty charges of sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy, over the alleged incident which began on hook-up app Grindr.
Prosecutors had claimed that Bean and Kiah Lawson met the alleged victim on gay hook-up app Grindr, and that they were aware he was underage when they had sex.
However, the case was entirely thrown out this week – because no victim was willing to come forward and testify.
Lane County Circuit Judge Jay McAlpin ruled that the case could not be heard, adding: “Mr. Bean, you are free to go.”
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Mr Bean welcomed the ruling.
In a statement, he said: “I take some measure of comfort that the world now knows what I have always known – that I was falsely accused and completely innocent of every accusation that was made.
“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.”
However, prosecutors may re-file the case in future if the alleged victim is willing to testify.
Lori Deveny, the lawyer for the now-17 years old accuser, said he had never been willing to testify.
She said: “My client is relieved this is finally over. He did not seek out this prosecution and made his unwillingness to testify known at every step in the process.”