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Reply #14: U.S.(Spokane) mayor takes leave amid online (gay)-sex probe (Reuters) [View All]

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Up2Late Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-10-05 04:42 AM
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14. U.S.(Spokane) mayor takes leave amid online (gay)-sex probe (Reuters)
U.S. mayor takes leave amid online-sex probe

Tue May 10, 2005 02:26 AM ET

By William Stimson

SPOKANE, Wash. (Reuters) - Spokane's Republican mayor took a leave of absence on Monday after officials seized a city computer in his home to investigate whether he used it illegally to solicit sex on gay Web sites. Mayor James West, 54, a former state legislator known for his strong positions against gay rights and teen sex, said in a statement last week that he had explored homosexual relationships online. But he described himself as a "law-abiding citizen" said he had not broken the law.

The seized computer would be used in an investigation into whether West broke any laws while using city-owned equipment, City Attorney Michael Connelly said. Faced with calls for his resignation, West told the Spokane City Council he would take a leave of absence for "a few weeks" because "the current media hysteria" was taking too much attention from work in Washington's second-largest city. He said he would use the time to "gather my thoughts and prepare my defense against the false accusations leveled against me."

Spokane's morning newspaper, the Spokesman-Review, reported last week that West had sexually abused two boys 25 years ago, when they were members of West's Boy Scout troop. The newspaper also said that West had tried to arrange a sexual liaison with a 17-year-old boy on Gay.com. The newspaper hired a consultant posing as a gay high-school student to arrange a meeting with the mayor.

After the stories appeared, West acknowledged in his statement that he had been leading "a double life" as a homosexual, but denied the newspaper's molestation claims. He told the City Council on Monday, "I hope the council and citizens will reserve judgment until the newspaper is done prosecuting me and allow me to have a fair opportunity to answer the accusations."

(more at link above)

This Audio story was on NPR today too:

Paper Reveals Private Side of Spokane Mayor

All Things Considered, May 9, 2005
In a series of articles, the Spokesman-Review has revealed that Spokane, Wash., Mayor Jim West has sought relationships with young men whom he has met over the Internet. Melissa Block talks with Steven Smith, editor of the Spokesman-Review.
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