May 05, 2005

Spokane mayor accused of molesting boys in 1970s



By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS / Associated Press

Mayor James E. West, a former Republican legislative leader and opponent of gay rights, has been accused of molesting two boys decades ago and more recently offering a City Hall internship during an online chat to someone he thought was a young man but was in reality a computer investigator hired by a newspaper.

West, 54, acknowledged to The Spokesman-Review that he offered gifts and an internship over the Web site to what he believed was an 18-year-old man, but was actually a private computer expert hired by the newspaper.

But in a Wednesday night interview with the newspaper, West denied the claims of past abuse by Robert J. Galliher, 36, of Seattle, and Michael G. Grant Jr., 31, of Spokane, as "flat lies." ...

Spokane in the past year has been rocked by dozens of claims of past sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, and the Diocese of Spokane has declared bankruptcy because of legal claims from the abuse.

The newspaper said its investigation of West arose out of tips received in 2002 during its investigations of the Catholic sex abuse.

Posted by kshaw at May 5, 2005 01:21 PM