BEND, OR -- Pressure is mounting for Bend City Councilor Nathan Boddie to resign and step away from his campaign for House District 54. Over the weekend, details emerged of an alleged encounter between an environmental activist and Boddie, before he was elected to Council. She claims he groped her during a conversation at a local bar, in 2012. He reportedly has responded by claiming she has a substance abuse problem. As of Tuesday morning, there is no indication Boddie plans to step aside.
Fellow Councilor, and candidate for Mayor, Sally Russell said in a statement it's "clear Dr. Boddie can no longer remain an effective City Councilor representing Bend, or an effective candidate for HD 54. His effort to impune [sic] Ms. Newbold's character instead of acknowledging his actions is unconscionable, and I applaud her bravery in coming forward with her story."
Russell tells KBND News, "Increasingly, in society, it’s becoming clearer that this type of behavior happens more often than we may be aware." She adds, "It’s like so many things today, where we’re much more aware of these types behaviors and how destructive they can be to communities as well as individuals." She plans to introduce a new city policy requiring mandatory harassment training for elected officials, "The city already has a process in place for all of its employees. So, the next obvious step, which was already being considered and certainly, now more than ever, it’s clear that we need to accelerate that, is simply to extend those processes for elected officials and for appointed positions on our various committees." She says businesses and municipalities increasingly recognize the need for more education and awareness, "This is an obvious step forward for Bend. And, I will say, this particular incident illustrates in black and white why it’s important to be doing it, and so we need to be doing it now." Russell says Boddie is "obscuring the truth" in not directly responding to the accusations, "As an elected official, it’s really our responsibility to encourage an open and transparent dialog around these kinds of issues. And, sexual harassment shouldn’t be tolerated, and must never be tolerated anywhere. So, this is a moment to recognize that and to make the adjustments within our community and within the city of Bend to ensure this behavior doesn’t happen."
Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel, who had supported Boddie’s State Rep. campaign, calls his response to the allegations “reprehensible and beneath the dignity of a sitting city councilor and candidate for future office.” Hummel withdrew his support Monday and called on others to do the same. He issued a statement saying "When Future PAC went public with vague allegations against Boddie and refused to release the details
, I withheld judgment because I respect the presumption of innocence and was aware of no details that would permit me to make up my own mind as to the veracity of the claims. Future PAC handled this matter in a ham-handed fashion and should immediately release the details of the allegations against Boddie so that voters and the entire public can judge their significance for themselves."