Democratic Nominee For Key State Representative Seat Fights Back Against Latest Round of Allegations
The Democratic nominee for State House District 54 is fighting back against the latest allegations against him after a Bend woman accused him of groping her six years ago in an interview with an OPB reporter.
In the interview and a in a post on her Facebook page on Friday, Moey Newbold, The Director is Urban Planning at Central Oregon Landwatch, described an incident that she says happened six years ago during which Dr. Nathan Boddie allegedly reached down Newbold’s pants at a bar and touched her butt cheek.
Her story was corroborated by friends who told OPB reporter, Ericka Cruz Guevarra, that Newbold had told them about the groping after the alleged incident occurred.
On Saturday morning, Boddie, who is also a Bend City Councilor, released a statement in which he denied the allegations, maintained that he had been friends with Newbold for years and had maintained a professional relationship in her work with Central Oregon Landwatch, but also pointed to alleged issues she had had with substance abuse in the past, and insinuated that that may be clouding her memories of the past.
In response to Boddie’s statement, Newbold told Central Oregon Daily that she stands by everything she said in her OPB interview, saying Boddie’s claims about her are “character assassination” and “bullying”.
Boddie also pointed to the efforts of Future PAC, a fundraising arm of the House Democrats, which has also raised allegations about Boddie in recent weeks without furnishing any details or names of accusers.
Last week, Boddie told Central Oregon Daily he had had a disagreement with Future PAC over their fundraising efforts among his friends and acquaintances in Bend, and that they stopped all contact with each other until the political action committee issued a press release about the mysterious allegations which led to several lawmakers and organizations to withdraw their support of Boddie.
Future PAC denies Boddie’s allegations of a disagreement over fundraising.
The Deschutes Democrats and Indivisible Bend had maintained their support of Boddie in the last two weeks, because of the lack of “specifics” in the allegations made by Future PAC, but after Newbold’s allegations were made public on Friday, both of those groups also withdrew their support.
On Friday, Newbold said she decided to come forward after so many years, because of the allegations made by Future PAC, and because she felt Boddie should step aside to allow another progressive candidate to talk on the Republican opponent in the House District 54 race, Cheri Helt.
Boddie is maintaining his innocence and is refusing to withdraw as the Democratic nominee.
The race for House District 54 is a key contest , because Democrats only need to gain one seat to achieve a supermajority in the chamber.
Republicans Knute Buehler and Jason Conger have held the seat in recent years, but the number of registered Democrats now outnumbers the number of registered Republicans in the Bend district, so when Buehler vacated the seat to run for Governor, Democrats saw an opportunity to flip the district in their favor.
The full statements from Moey Newbold and Dr. Nathan Boddie are included below.
Here is the full statement posted by Moey Newbold on her Facebook page on Friday afternoon:
“This week I told my #MeToo story to a reporter. I felt that it was the right thing to do for my community that I care so much about. This was an incredibly hard decision that I wish I never had to make. The incident occurred 5 and a half years ago when I was 23 years old and I have tried my best to move past it and focus on doing what I have always wanted to do which is to do my job and advocate for important issues for Bend and Central Oregon.
Recently, allegations regarding Nathan Boddie’s inappropriate behavior have been in the media because the statewide Democrat organizations withdrew their support for his campaign. I did not make those allegations nor do I know anything about them or the person(s) who made them. However, now that I have seen the insensitive, hurtful, and lie-filled response from the Boddie campaign, I decided that it was time for me to come forward with my story about him because I am concerned for the well-being of the initial accuser(s). I know how incredibly difficult it is to choose to put yourself in this uncomfortable and horrific spotlight and it sickens me that those people are being pressured to come forward publicly and/or intimidated into silence.
I understand that many people have wanted to know more details before deciding for themselves whether to withdraw their own support for someone who has been a progressive champion on many issues. The last thing I would ever want to do is to fracture our local progressive community, but unfortunately the person who many of us thought was our advocate has already done that.
What we need now is for the healing to begin – I hope everyone will consider the larger system that perpetuates the empowerment of the abuser and the silence of the victim. I hope that Nathan Boddie will do the right thing for our community by stepping down so that a qualified progressive candidate can run in his place. Lastly, I know that the next few weeks or months will be very tough for me as people dissect a moment in my life that I have tried to forget, but I will take strength from your support and friendships. Thank you.”
Here is the full statement released by Dr. Nathan Boddie on Saturday morning:
“Yesterday I learned about the latest in a series of strange developments surrounding my race to represent Bend in the legislature. The individual making recent allegations is a friend and someone with whom I have had a great professional relationship for several years. Alice and I sincerely hope that whatever Ms. Newbold has asserted never happened to her and we hope something like that never happens to anyone. It’s not something I was ever around or with which I was ever involved, and I don’t think I’ve ever been alone with her at all. I hold Ms. Newbold in the highest regard and she is helping lead Bend into the future I know we all envision. She’s recently become involved with local government, urban planning, transportation, and many of the dynamic issues Bend faces today.
I met Moey some years ago when she was suffering from a number of medical challenges and although I never served as her physician, she suffered from problems related to substance use like so many other members of our community. On several occasions, Alice and I helped get her out of public while intoxicated and even while finding her unconscious at times. We can only hope that this assertion stems from something that happened during that trying period of her life and not from state organizations interfering with local politics particularly since she shares office space with local members of Future PAC. Our hearts and prayers go out to Ms. Newbold and we wish her our sincere support for her future.”
Here is the full statement released to Central Daily by Moey Newbold in Saturday afternoon in response to Dr. Boddie’s statement:
“Nathan Boddie’s recent statement about me is not true. It is character assassination. It’s sad that he has stooped to this level instead of taking responsibility for his actions. This type of bullying response reinforces why so many women (and men) don’t report assault and harassment. I stand by the interview I did with OPB.”
Since Newbold’s allegations became public, Boddie has seen a number of supporters walk back their support and many have called for him to drop out of the race.
The Deschutes Democrats had maintained their support of Boddie in recent weeks after non-specific allegations of sexist and homophobic remarks had been announced by Future PAC, a fundraising arm in Oregon for House Democrats, without details or names of accusers, but after a Bend woman named Moey Newbold told an OPB reporter about an alleged groping incident involving Boddie six years ago in a bar, the Deschutes Democrats withdrew their support of the candidate and asked that he leave the race.
In a Facebook post, the Deachutes Democrats say they will “hold a public meeting soon to discuss the matter. The procedure to remove or replace a candidate calls for a vote by our Elected Precinct Committee Persons.”
On Monday morning, Sally Russell, Bend’s current Mayor Pro Tem and candidate for Mayor in November, released a statement in which she called for Dr. Nathan Boddie to not only withdraw from the race for State House District 54 but also resign from the Bend City Council in the wake of new allegations against Boddie from a Bend woman who says he groped her at a bar in Bend six years ago.
Here is Sally Russell’s full statement:
“I strongly urge Nathan Boddie to step away from his bid for Oregon House District 54 and resign from the Bend City Council.
The allegations against Dr. Boddie, and his failure to address these issues, are highly disturbing. Sexual harassment must never be tolerated or accepted anywhere.
The recent personal accounts related by Moey Newbold make clear that Dr. Boddie can no longer remain an effective City Councilor representing Bend, or an effective candidate for HD 54. His effort to impune Ms. Newbold’s character instead of acknowledging his actions is unconscionable, and I applaud her bravery in coming forward with her story. As elected officials, it is our responsibility to encourage an open and transparent dialog regarding an issue like this. Instead, Dr. Boddie has worked to obscure the truth and has shown only defensive excuses in the face of facts. Our community deserves better.
We on City Council must and will work to ensure that the City of Bend has a process in place to deal with complaints of this nature. This month I will be introducing a new policy to require mandatory harassment trainings for all city elected and appointed positions.
With something this serious, it will be difficult for Dr. Boddie to effectively work with community leaders and his fellow councilors to serve our city. It’s time for Councilor Boddie to resign.”
The Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel also released this statement on Monday, revoking his support for Boddie and also calling for him to step down:
“I previously supported Bend City Councilor Nathan Boddie’s campaign to represent District 54 in the Oregon House of Representatives. Due to his recent public statements about Moey Newbold and uncertainty about his past conduct in light of allegations made against him, I withdraw my support and urge others to do the same.
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. As a prosecutor, I know that the details matter in cases like this.
Moey Newbold’s allegation on the other hand was clear, detailed, and moving. I know Moey Newbold and find her to be credible and ethical. She does not seek financial gain as a result of her allegation nor is she in Boddie’s opponent’s camp. Rather, by making this allegation, she subjected herself to embarrassment and unwanted attention. I believe Moey Newbold.
Boddie’s public response to Newbold’s allegation was reprehensible and beneath the dignity of a sitting city councilor and candidate for future office. Boddie is entitled to publicly deny the allegation, though his doing so strains credulity. But to trash the reputation of his accuser by sharing with the public what Boddie claims to be Newbold’s medical condition is disgraceful, particularly in light of the fact that Boddie is a physician.
I stand with Moey Newbold and against Nathan Boddie. I withdraw my support of Boddie, and I urge him to withdraw from this race, resign from his city council seat, and reflect upon changes he needs to make in his life to win back the support he used to enjoy in our community.”