Anti-gay Republican Mayor turns out to be town's biggest queer
One of boneheaddoctor's idles turns out to have feet of clay, and buns of steel!
Spokane mayor takes leave
amid sex probe
Report: West offered jobs to men met in chat
rooms; computers seized
The Associated Press
Updated: 10:58 p.m. ET May 9, 2005SPOKANE, Wash. - Embattled Mayor James West said Monday he will take a leave of absence for a Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“few weeksĂ˘â‚¬? to prepare to defend himself against a newspaperĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s allegations of child molestation and that he offered city jobs to men he met online.
West told the City Council that the molestation allegations reported in The Spokesman-Review last week were false and that he would take his first vacation since taking office in January 2004 to prepare a response.
Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“I hope that you and the people will reserve judgment on me until the newspaper is done persecuting me and allow me to have the fair opportunity to respond to each of the allegations in due time,Ă˘â‚¬? West said at the beginning of the council meeting.
He left without taking questions.
Job offers to chat-room denizens?
An hour after WestĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s announcement, the paper posted a new story on its Web site alleging West offered city jobs to two young men he met through a gay Internet chat room Ă˘â‚¬â€ť and that one of them briefly accepted a city appointment.
Ryan Oelrich, an openly gay 24-year-old, told the paper he accepted WestĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s appointment to the cityĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s Human Rights Commission in April 2004 after meeting West online at Gay.com.
Oelrich said he resigned from the commission in January after West Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“hounded me for months, telling me I was cute and asking me out on dates.Ă˘â‚¬? Oelrich said he refused the mayorĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s advances, the newspaper reported.
The newspaper said another man, who is 25 and spoke on condition of anonymity, said West offered him a job as the city's human resources director, but the man said he was not qualified.
When he rejected the human resources job offer, the man said West offered him a job as aquatics director, overseeing operations at the city's swimming pools, the newspaper reported. The man did not accept that job either.
Calls placed Monday to the mayor's office and City Attorney Mike Connelly seeking comment on the latest allegations were not immediately return ed.
Abuse allegations date to 1970s
The newspaper on Thursday published a series of reports that West had been accused of abusing boys while he was a sheriffĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s deputy and Boy Scout leader in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
West, a former Republican state Senate leader and staunch opponent of gay rights, denied those allegations but subsequently acknowledged that he had visited the gay online chat room and had relations with adult men.
The articles resulted in a number of calls for West to resign.
Earlier Monday, city officials seized WestĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s City Hall computers for an investigation into whether he improperly used them to visit gay chat rooms.
And Monday afternoon, a Spokane resident, Shannon Sullivan, filed a recall petition against West. If the petition is approved by a judge, recall supporters would have to gather more than 12,000 signatures to place the issue on the ballot.
Admits offering internship, memorabilia
The newspaper alleged that West offered autographed sports memorabilia and a possible City Hall internship to someone he thought was an 18-year-old man in a chat room. The man was actually a computer expert hired by The Spokesman-Review as part of a journalism sting operation.
West also disputed a story in SundayĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s newspaper that quoted a city councilwoman as saying he told her that he had masturbated in his office. West said he was at home, not in his office, when the simulated online sex occurred, the newspaper reported.
The Spokesman-Review has called for WestĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s resignation, saying in an editorial Sunday that he can no longer govern effectively. The Seattle Times also called for West to step down, as did a national gay advocacy organization.
Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“This man Ă˘â‚¬â€ť whether heĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s straight, bisexual, or gay Ă˘â‚¬â€ť deserves nothing but scorn,Ă˘â‚¬? said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in Washington, D.C. Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“He needs to resign immediately.Ă˘â‚¬?
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address