WASHINGTON – Prominent Democrat, gay rights activist and Obama donor Terry Bean is taking a leave of absence from his post at the Human Rights Campaign after being arrested and indicted on two counts of third-degree sodomy and third-degree sexual abuse with a teenage boy.
Bean and his 25-year-old former boyfriend, Kiah Lawson, allegedly used the iPhone app Grindr to arrange a sexual encounter with a 15-year-old boy in a Eugene, Oregon hotel on Sept. 27, 2013.
Bean has donated almost $70,000 of his own money to Obama’s campaign and was responsible for raising at least a half million dollars during the 2012 election cycle.
Obama has publicly thanked Bean for his campaign contributions.
"I want to thank somebody who put so much work into this event, Terry Bean,” Obama said during a July 23, 2012 event in Portland. “Give Terry a big round of applause.”
Bean’s attorney, Kristen Winemiller, said his client is the victim of an extortion ring, and has stressed that “no allegations against Terry Bean should be taken at face value. We look forward to the opportunity to clear his name."
The Human Rights Campaign announced Bean was taking a break from his work there.
“Terry Bean has taken a voluntary leave of absence from the HRC boarduntil his issues are resolved. Bean is just one of 80 board members,none of whom have daily oversight or responsibility for any of ourprograms,” spokesman Fred Sainz said in a statement.
Bean’s name has been dropped from the HRC Board of Directors listing because he is not currently an active member.
Bean made a political appeal to HRC’s membership during an Oct. 8, 2008 fundraising dinner in 2008, saying, “the election of Joe Biden and Barack Obama may turn out to be the most pivotal moment in our journey for equality."
Former Bush administration official Brad Blakeman said if Bean were a major Republican donor, coverage of the story, which has been mostly regional, would be different.
"The coverage would be overwhelmingly negative, and it would be a trial in the media as opposed to a trial in the justice system,” Blakeman told Fox News. “He would have been convicted just by the charges alone.”
The White House has not responded to a request for comment.