US: Gay rights pioneer arrested over sex abuse allegations

PinkNews logo on pink background with rainbow corners.

A high-profile Democratic gay rights campaigner has been arrested over allegations he sexually abused a 15-year-old.

Rights campaigner 66-year-old Terry Bean was arrested by the Sex Crimes Unit in Portland, Oregon this week, according to Oregon Live.

Terry Bean – who has close links to President Obama – is a gay rights pioneer who co-founded a number of groups, including the Human Rights Campaign, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, and the National Gay Games.

The campaigner – who launched the LGBT for Obama campaign in 2008 – was arrested at his Portland home on Wednesday morning, and taken to the Multnomah County Detention Center.

He was charged with two counts of third-degree sodomy and one count of third-degree sex abuse over the allegations, which pertain to an incident in a hotel room in 2013.

Mr Bean – who has been released on bail – denies all wrongdoing, and claims to be the victim of an “extortion ring” trying to ruin his political reputation.

A statement from his lawyer Kristen Winemiller said: “Terry Bean is a highly respected community leader who has devoted his life to bettering our community.

“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.”