leader of the Oregon Christian Coalition and staunch
opponent of gay rights in the state admits in a newly
released police report that he sexually touched three
underage girls years ago, despite denials of such
behavior to a newspaper.
Lou Beres denied
sexual molestation allegations when The Oregonian
first reported them last October. But a Gresham Police
Department report released as part of a lawsuit said
Beres "readily admitted sexually touching" one girl when she
was 13 or 14 years old. He also acknowledged sexually
touching a 16- or 17-year-old friend of his daughter
in 1976 or 1977.
Last fall Gresham
police investigated allegations that Beres had molested
underage family members. But Multnomah County district
attorney Michael Shrunk said the statute of
limitations would prohibit any charges because the
allegations occurred so long ago. In March, Beres, 70, was
sued in Multnomah County circuit court for $2.1
million by a relative who said he molested her
repeatedly between 1963 and 1966.
The Oregonian said Beres did not return a phone
call Tuesday. His attorney, John Kaempf, told the newspaper
the statements attributed to Beres by the police were
not accurate. Beres told police that he had received
counseling through his church and admitted his
mistakes years ago, according to the Gresham police report.
relatives expressed concern to police that the abuse
continued for several years through more than one generation
of the family, according to the report. In a telephone
call with an investigator, Beres "made admissions to
three separate victims at three different times," the
police report said. "All involved underage females.
The offenses ranged from kissing to touching the breast
of an underage girl.
the victims as his sister-in-law and two friends of his
daughters, said one of the investigators, according
to Det. Lee Gosson of the Multnomah County
Sheriff's Department. "It should be noted that Mr.
Beres said his activities with the girls were in a playful
fashion," Gosson said. "I told him that the acts were
sexual, and he agreed."
Kaempf said that
in addition to disputing the statements in the police
report, Beres also denied the allegations in the lawsuit. A
hearing is scheduled next month on a motion by Kaempf
to dismiss the lawsuit.
Last fall Beres
said he would withdraw from public life while he fought
the allegations. However, as late as last week, records show
that he signed a $50 check on the Oregon Christian
Coalition checking account to renew the group's
business registration with the state. When asked about
Beres's relationship with the Oregon Christian Coalition,
Kaempf said Beres would ask the coalition to "file the
necessary paperwork with the state to formalize Mr.
Beres's resignation as its chairman."
spokeswoman for the national office of the Christian
Coalition, told The Oregonian that she would
check on Beres's status with the group but failed to provide
an answer Tuesday and could not be reached by
subsequent phone calls.
Christian Coalition shut its office last year and does not
appear to have any paid staff. Tim Nashif of the antigay
Oregon Family Council, another conservative Christian
group, said the coalition is "not doing anything" in
the state as far as he can see. Nashif noted that
Beres, once active in Republican politics, got almost no
support when he tried to win a seat on the Republican
National Committee. (AP)