Gay rights pioneer ‘takes leave’ from Human Rights Campaign after sex abuse arrest

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A gay rights pioneer who co-founded the Human Rights Campaign is taking a “leave of absence” from the group, after he was arrested over sex abuse claims.

66-year-old Terry Bean was arrested by the Sex Crimes Unit in Portland, Oregon last week.

The campaigner has close links to President Obama, and co-founded a number of LGBT groups, including the Human Rights Campaign, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, and the National Gay Games.

He was charged last week 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.

The Human Rights Campaign – which fights for gay rights in the US and around the world – said in a statement: “Terry Bean has taken a voluntary leave of absence from the HRC board until his issues are resolved.

“Bean is just one of 80 board members, none of whom have daily oversight or responsibility for any of our programs.”

He was a close ally of President Obama, launching the LGBT for Obama campaign in 2008.

He had visited the White House a number of times, and had even flown with the President on Air Force One.

The White House would not comment on the case.