Claim: 'Plan to conceal' key witness in Terry Bean sex abuse case
A new ethics complaint against Portland lawyer Deanna Wray suggests the long dormant sex abuse case against prominent Democratic activist Terry Bean could soon get more bizarre.
A one-page Feb. 21 complaint filed with the quasi-governmental agency that oversees lawyers, the Oregon State Bar, makes the allegation that Wray had "participated in a plan to conceal a key witness on whom the prosecution was seeking to serve a subpoena in 2015 as part of a sodomy and sexual abuse case then pending against Terry Bean. Bean has claimed innocence.
The complaint was filed by Peter Jarvis, a top Portland ethics lawyer, on behalf of Bodyfelt Mount LLP, the firm for which Wray previously worked.
The complaint attributes the allegation about Wray to "a former firm employee" and says Wray was "acting without the knowledge or participation of any other lawyer at the firm."
The complaint provides no other details.
Asked for comment, Wray, now a real estate agent, wrote in a text: "I heard from the Bar today for the first time. I'm looking into what's been filed."
Asked if she'd played a role in a plan to conceal a witness, she replied, "I did not."
Derek Ashton, Bean's lawyer, said in an email, "I'm not aware of anything that would support the purported complaint. The District Attorney's Office dropped the charges nearly four years ago solely because the main witness it was relying upon made his unwillingness to testify known at every step in the process."
Asked whether he or Bean were ever aware of a plan to conceal a witness, Ashton replied, "I'm not aware that any witnesses were ever concealed."
Witness stopped cooperating
Bean was reindicted in January 2019 for "deviant sexual intercourse" with a boy then 15 years of age.
Bean had been indicted for the same alleged crime in 2015, but his effort to settle the case with a civil compromise to the alleged victim for $225,000 was rejected by a judge.
The case resurfaced in January 2019 with the news in Willamette Week that Bean's alleged victim had filed a complaint against his lawyer, saying she had failed to pay him the full $220,000 that he was owed due to his settlement with Bean. The victim began cooperating with authorities, leading to Bean's reindictment in Lane County in January.
KGW has reported that investigators are looking into why the alleged victim did not testify in 2015, and suggested that pending criminal investigations could cause Deveny to provide testimony in the Bean case.
Sean Riddell, a lawyer for the alleged victim, declined to comment. Deveny did not respond to a request for comment.
Kateri Walsh, an Oregon State Bar spokeswoman said her organization has shared information regarding complaints filed against Deveny with the Multnomah County District Atttorney's office, the IRS and federal prosecutors.
The language "plan to conceal" raises the question of whether other charges could follow in the Bean case. Bribery and witness-tampering are felonies in Oregon.
Wray's connection to the case is unclear. However, she served the on the 2014-15 board of the Oregon Women Lawyers Foundation with Deveny, the lawyer who represented the alleged victim.
Wray's former firm issued a statement Wednesday afternoon in response to the Tribune's request for comment.
"As our report to the Oregon State Bar states, a former employee recently reported to firm leadership that she and a former firm lawyer, acting independently from the firm in their personal capacity, participated in a plan to conceal a key witness in the sexual abuse charge against Terry Bean in 2015."
The firm said the report of wrongdoing was "shocking," adding that it has since done an audit of company records and equipment regarding the matter.
"For the sake of the alleged victim, we hope that the truth will be discovered quickly and lead to a just resolution," said the firm's statement.
Full statement by Bodyfelt Mount, LLP:
"As our report to the Oregon State Bar states, a former employee recently reported to firm leadership that she and a former firm lawyer, acting independently from the firm in their personal capacity, participated in a plan to conceal a key witness in the sexual abuse charge against Terry Bean in 2015.
"This report was shocking because our firm stands on a strong tradition of ethics, transparency, equality and collegial practices to provide our employees a high-quality workplace while delivering the highest standard of legal advice to our clients.
"When the actions were reported to us, we took immediate action, including contacting the appropriate legal authorities, conducting an internal audit, a review of all records and use of firm equipment. We also took the appropriate steps under the Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct and made this report.
"We can assure all former and current clients that this incident was isolated and in no way connected to anyone else's work at the firm.
"We are proud of our firm's long-standing history of civic engagement and ethical legal practices and stand ready to assist any investigation by the Oregon State Bar or other law enforcement as appropriate in the related matter if the information we received helps advance their work.
"For the sake of the alleged victim, we hope that the truth will be discovered quickly and lead to a just resolution."