Portland police yesterday reported that accused HRC co-founder Terry Bean, 66, met the teenaged boy he is charged with molesting on Grindr. The boy was identified after police were given his phone number by Bean’s former partner, Kiah Lawson, 25, who has also been charged with sexual abuse of a minor. Via the Oregonian:
Bean and Lawson are accused of setting up an encounter with the teen through the iPhone app Grindr, a mobile social network that helps men find “local gay, bi and curious guys for dating.” The app advertises, “Meet the men nearest you with GPS.” Bean, 66, and Lawson, 25, are accused of having sex with the boy at a Eugene hotel on Sept. 27, 2013. A Lane County grand jury indicted both on two counts of third-degree sodomy and one count of third-degree sexual abuse. On Friday afternoon, Lawson pleaded not guilty to the three-count indictment in Lane County Circuit Court. Bean, who posted bail, is set to appear in court Dec. 3. “The surprising thing to me is Kiah was indicted in this case because it was Kiah who helped authorities find this kid,” said Jeffrey Dickey, Lawson’s attorney at the time. “If someone is going to cooperate and be helpful for the police there should be some kind of reward for that. It could have a chilling effect on others coming forward.”
Bean contends that he is the victim of an “extortion ring” that included Lawson, who claims to have discovered that Bean secretly videotaped sexual encounters with Lawson and other men in Bean’s bedroom. It was Bean who first went to police in June to charge that Lawson and others were demanding money in exchange for remaining silent about the videotaping.
In March of this year, Bean filed for a restraining order against Lawson, claiming domestic physical abuse. In that petition, Bean claimed that Lawson is a crystal meth addict who had burglarizing his home and charged $15K on stolen credit cards. He also accused Lawson of dealing meth out of Bean’s second home, a condo where Lawson lived at that time. Bean claims that police characterized his accusations as a civil dispute between landlord and tenant.
UPDATE: Lawson’s mother has weighed in.
Lawson’s mother, Tim Nouanemany, told KOIN 6 News after the hearing her son never had contact with the teen, and that Terry Bean arranged the encounter. She also said Lawson is himself the victim, a pawn used by Bean to “get young kids.” She called it “grooming,” and claimed several times Bean gave her son alcohol and Viagra as part of the grooming process to entice the teen. Nouanemany is sticking by her son and said she just wants the truth to come out. She also hopes he gets to take a lie detector test. Lawson, she said, went from being a happy young man last year after first meeting Bean to someone who is not himself lately.
And there’s this from the 15 year-old’s lawyer: “He’s been traumatized and he’ll be living with that trauma. It’s important that the two adults involved he held to account for that. Something like this can follow a victim for their life. As we go to electronic court records, everything becomes searchable.”
RELATED: In August of this year, a New Jersey man filed a federal lawsuit against Grindr, alleging that the hook-up app’s “lax age verification standards” led him to be arrested for having sex with a 13 year-old boy, who had been allowed to be a paying member of the site. Grindr’s motion to dismiss cites the Communications Decency Act, which they claim immunizes companies from bad acts resulting from misinformation provided by other parties. They additionally claim that the Third Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that it is “not feasible” for web publishers to verify the age of users.