Spokane Paper Airs New Charges Against Mayor

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(AP) New allegations of misconduct surfaced Tuesday against Mayor James West, who has rejected demands for his resignation amid allegations he offered city jobs to men he met in gay online chat rooms.

According to The Spokesman-Review, state Sen. Pam Roach said when West served in the Legislature, he made an inappropriate sexual comment to her about her teenage son. The newspaper also said a man claimed he was inappropriately touched during a pat-down search when West was a sheriff’s deputy in the 1970s.

Through his attorney, Bill Etter, West denied the published reports.

“Mr. West denies each and every one of these allegations,” Etter said.

The new allegations were part of a series of articles the newspaper has published about West, a conservative Republican and longtime opponent of gay rights. The Spokesman-Review has also reported allegations that West molested two boys in the 1970s when he was a Boy Scout leader, and that he offered gifts, favors, and jobs at City Hall to young men he met online.

The mayor has denied those allegations but acknowledged having relations with adult men.

West can only be removed from office by a recall vote. But city Councilman Al French drafted a resolution to change the city charter to allow the council to sanction or remove the mayor from office.

The council will decide whether to begin the process of placing French’s resolution on the November ballot. French did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment Tuesday.

The Justice Department is investigating whether West used his political office and city resources improperly. The city also is investigating.

Roach told the newspaper that West made the comment in the Senate chamber around 1990, when her then-18-year-old son was working as a tour guide in the state Capitol and West was a state senator.

“West told me, ‘I want to do to your son what no mother would want to know,'” Roach said the former senator told her.

Roach said she told fellow Republican Sen. Ann Anderson about the encounter at the time, but Anderson, a friend of West, told the newspaper she recalled that West told Roach: “Pam, you have a nice-looking young son.”

On Monday, West rejected demands by local business leaders that he resign for the good of the city. However, he apologized to residents, apparently for trolling a gay Web site. He denied using city-owned equipment for visiting that site.

West said he intends to serve the remaining 2 1/2 years of his term in this city of 200,000 people.

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