Who gets your vote for Portland mayor?
PORTLAND -- The accounts of an assault on a woman by mayoral candidate Jefferson Smith differ from what he revealed last week in a press conference, according to the original police report and a story in Willamette Week.
In response to the reports, Smith told Oregon Public Broadcasting's Dave Miller Tuesday, "My recollection is I struck her like I was knocking on a door."
Smith's victim told the newspaper he lied about the 1993 incident at an off-campus party at the University of Oregon. The unidentified woman, now 37, also said she still fears Smith and that he appeared unannounced on her doorstep last week with a campaign aide.
According to the police report, the woman touched Smith's chest, after which he grabbed her arms. He drew back and struck her with a closed fist to the eye, causing a one-inch cut.
"He really popped me," she told police at the time. The woman, at 5 foot 3 and 115 pounds, is about a foot shorter than Smith, who was described in the police report as weighing 205 pounds.
A witness who took the woman to the hospital corroborated her story, according to the police report. Smith acknowledged that the woman was injured and required a trip to the hospital for stitches, and that he paid her medical expenses.
"I clearly hurt her and I felt terrible about it then, I feel terrible about it now, I didn't mean to hurt anybody, I didn't mean to hurt her," Smith told KGW Tuesday. "I tried to hold her off, and then shoving her away, clearly struck her."
Smith said he did not know the woman, and was only defending himself after she charged at him under the mistaken belief he had shaken the couch on which she was sleeping. But according to the police report, the woman told officers Smith had tried to pick her up at a fraternity party earlier that night and she repeatedly rejected him.
"Somebody I didn’t know was asleep on the couch. Somebody pushed her off. She came at me and started swinging at me. I tried to get her to stop," Smith said.
The woman told Willamette Week that she had met Smith earlier that night. She said when she turned down his advances, he mocked her morals, called her "snobby" and suggested that she change her mind after consuming alcohol, she told the paper.
At the party later, she was asleep on a couch when it was shaken. She awoke, saw Smith and presumed he had done that. She approached him and accused him.
KGW's news partner The Oregonian also published a story about the contradictions.
Last week, Smith visited the woman's home. He said it was in an effort to apologize and alert her that the incident would likely come out in the press.
Smith said a previous report that he was ordered to have no contact with her was not true. He explained that there was a six-month "no contact" period after of the incident, but it was not indefinite. The victim's attorney told KGW the "no contact" period has not expired.
The mayoral candidate appeared in the live interview on OPB Tuesday, along with his opponent Charlie Hales. The event was scheduled before Willamette Week printed this latest controversial story about Smith, but some of the questioning focused on the accusations, and even how they surfaced.
Hales said his campaign did not leak any information to the press. He added that candidates for public office know that their background will be open for discussion.
"People need to look at the whole person," Hales told OPB in response to the story. "You have to expect in this process that your whole life is going to be on display."
"I am trying to do a better job of managing myself," Smith said. "I still blow up sometimes ... (but) try to make it obvious I am listening and show compassion I genuinely feel."