EUGENE, Ore. — Lane County investigators are looking into why a teen who accused a prominent Portland Democratic political fundraiser of having sex with him when he 15 years old suddenly refused to testify in the case back in 2015.
The incident allegedly happened in Eugene in September 2013 and involved Terry Bean, a Portland real estate developer who has contributed money to Democratic politicians around Oregon and across the nation.
The original case against Bean was dismissed in 2015 when the accuser refused to testify, but prosecutors filed new charges this week when the same accuser agreed to tell his story in court. The accuser is now an adult.
Lane County senior prosecutor Erik Hasselman wrote in an email that “although some of the reasons behind the alleged victim’s absence on the morning of the trial are known to us, the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the alleged victims’ decision not to appear continues.”
Records filed with the Oregon State Bar, which oversees lawyers in Oregon, begin to paint a picture of what caused the original case to collapse. They reveal the accuser in the Bean case was supposed to get a $220,000 settlement from Bean, but he never received the money when the boy's attorney failed to deliver it.
The accuser is now trying to recoup the money from a fund to help people who were wronged by their attorneys.
The original criminal case against Bean, on the charges of sodomy and sex abuse, was set for trial in Lane County in 2015.
Bean and his legal team had tried to offer a civil settlement to end the original criminal case, but the judge rejected that plan.
Despite that, the case still fell apart when the victim went dark and didn't show up in court in 2015 to testify.
Now, the accuser is back and the district attorney’s office has used his testimony in front of a grand jury to file a new criminal case using the same allegations and the same charges.
Kiah Lawson, who was Bean's boyfriend in 2013 and who prosecutors claim also had sex with the underage victim, also faces the same new charges as Bean. He was arraigned in Lane County on Friday afternoon, according to court records.
On Thursday, Bean’s lawyer said his client is innocent, adding, “Mr. Bean is the victim and he has paid enough."
Later in the day someone posted on Bean's Facebook page, visible only to friends, with an explanation for that payment around the time of the first criminal case. The post alleged that Bean "made a business decision to settle a civil suit in order to focus on proving his innocence in the criminal case."
The posting continued. “Terry's accuser threatened a civil suit and went to the press, all while refusing to cooperate in the criminal proceedings,” it read.
That statement is not accurate. The teen did testify in front of a Lane County grand jury, which is how criminal charges were brought in the first place. KGW could not find any record of a civil suit related to this incident in Oregon court records.
Even if there was a civil agreement, any lawyer will tell you a civil settlement cannot keep someone from testifying in a criminal case.
So, what happened?
“The victim has always wanted to participate in the criminal justice process," said Sean Riddell, attorney for the alleged victim. KGW is not naming the accuser because he is the alleged victim of a sex crime.
Riddell said his client didn't testify in 2015 because of the actions of his attorney at the time, Lori Deveny.
"She gave my client some very bad legal advice," Riddell said.
Riddell claims Deveny did not pay Bean's accuser the money he was promised from the settlement with Bean.
"He was a victim of Ms. Deveny, he was a victim of Ms. Deveny's scam and he was a victim of Ms. Deveny's lies," Riddell said.
Riddell would not elaborate more about how Deveny scammed his client, but it clearly led to him not testifying in that first criminal case.
Deveny is a well-known Portland lawyer who lived a lavish lifestyle. The Willamette Week reported this week she is accused of stealing from many of her clients by not paying them settlements they were owed. Deveny did not respond to multiple requests from the Willamette Week to comment on the accusations. KGW also reached out to Deveny for comment and will update this article if we hear back.
Those accusations led the Oregon State Bar to take the rare step of seizing Deveny's practice last October, including all of her files. Twenty-six clients have already filed claims for $1.5 million that they say Deveny stole from them.
The alleged victim in the Terry Bean case is one of those clients.
Documents he filed with the bar showed a payment of $220,000 into a trust account for him held by Deveny. Some was held out for the lawyer’s fees, and he did get a few thousand dollars. But the alleged victim wrote that Deveny still owes him $127,000.
Riddell said his client now wants justice.
“He understands the importance and he very much wants to participate in the criminal justice process,” Riddell said.
Deveny now faces investigations from the IRS, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Portland Police, according to a spokeswoman with the Oregon State Bar.
It is always possible that she might try to cut a deal with prosecutors and flip, telling her version of what happened back in 2015 and what she believed the $220,000 payment was for.