UPDATE (8:20 p.m. PT) — Deschutes County Democrats are withdrawing support for Oregon state legislative candidate Nathan Boddie, urging him to resign his nomination following sexual misconduct allegations first reported by OPB.
The group previously pledged to continue to back Boddie, reiterating their support as recently as Thursday. Should Boddie resign, the group says they plan to hold a meeting to discuss a replacement candidate for the seat representing Bend.pulled support for him in June, following unspecified but “serious allegations of inappropriate behavior.”
On Facebook, Deschutes County Democrats said the new allegations brought forth by a 23-year-old environmental nonprofit worker in Bend offers “credible details and corroborating witnesses.”
Moey Newbold says Boddie groped her at a bar in 2012.
“He slipped his hand down my pants, under my underwear, and I froze,” she said. “He was touching my butt cheek.”
Boddie told OPB he was unaware of the incident Newbold described in recent interviews.
“No woman should have to endure what Boddie did in that bar,” the Deschutes County Democratic Party said in an announcement on Facebook.
“The Deschutes Democrats recognize the courage it takes for anyone to report these highly emotional and difficult situations and we salute those who step forward to demand that this horrible behavior stop,” the group said in an official statement Saturday. “We insist that Nathan Boddie resign so that the party can select a candidate that holds to the values of the Deschutes Democrats and HD54.”
Newbold said she quickly left the bar after the incident. At the time she was so taken aback, she froze. The next morning, she said, she texted Boddie.
“I felt super violated and disgusted,” Newbold said. “And I texted him and said, ‘Don’t ever do anything like that again’ … and he responded, ‘Well, you do have a nice ass.’”
In a statement sent after Newbold’s allegations were published, Boddie denied ever being alone with her.
“Yesterday I learned about the latest in a series of strange developments surrounding my race to represent Bend in the legislature,” Boddie said in a statement.
“The individual making recent allegations is a friend and someone with whom I have had a great professional relationship for several years.”
Boddie said Newbold suffered from substance abuse when they’d met, adding that he’d helped her get out of public while intoxicated on several occasions.
Newbold said Boddie’s response to her allegations are not true and are a form of “character assassination.”
“It’s sad that he has stooped to this level instead of taking responsibility for his actions,” she said. “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.”
Paul Dewey, an attorney and Newbold’s boss at Central OregonLandWatch, released a statement on Saturday evening saying Newbold told him several years ago that Boddie had inappropriately touched her.
At the time, Dewey said, Boddie was interested in joining the board at Central OregonLandWatch. Newbold shared with her boss that she would be uncomfortable if Boddie were on the board.
“So I met with Nathan and told him that Moey had told me that there had been this experience and that his being on the Board would not be appropriate. His response was to say that he did not recall the event,” Dewey said. “Recently, Nathan was quoted as saying that he was unaware of the incident and that this was the first time he was hearing of anything like this. That is incorrect because I told him about it.”
Dewey has been a friend and supporter of Boddie’s for years.
“When I first heard the allegations of him making homophobic and sexist remarks, I did not believe them,” Dewey wrote. “I had not heard him say things like that and gave him the benefit of the doubt. Like many other local Democrats in Bend, I continued to support his candidacy.”
Now, he sees the allegations in a different light, Dewey said.
After years of working with Newbold, Dewey said, he found Boddie’s attacks on her character to be unfair. Newbold was “responsible and reliable, and not at all given to wild allegations or ulterior motives.”
NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon PAC, a grassroots pro-choice advocacy political action committee, also joined a growing list of groups pulling endorsements since June. The PAC cited the groping allegations specifically, calling on Boddie to drop out of the race.
“We will not tolerate misuse of power by any elected official, candidate or person in a position of authority, especially health care providers,” said Grayson Dempsey, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon.
“We trust our endorsed candidates to represent our core values of diversity and inclusion. Dr. Boddie, through his alleged behavior and subsequent shaming of the woman who was brave enough to come forward, has demonstrated clearly that he does not uphold the highest standards of conduct.”
Boddie is a physician and Bend City Councilor vying for a hotly contested House seat eyed by Democrats hoping to gain a supermajority. Right now, the Democrats need one more seat.
OPB’s Lauren Dake contributed to this report.