Pressure is mounting on Nathan Boddie to drop out of his state House race and resign his Bend City Council seat because of allegations that he groped a young woman at a bar and his subsequent attacks on her character.
Gov. Kate Brown joined local political leaders Monday in calling on Boddie to leave the race. “We are hearing more and more troubling allegations,” Brown said in a statement emailed to The Bulletin. “Time’s up. Dr. Boddie needs to resign his nomination.”
In calling for Boddie to resign, both Bend Mayor Pro Tem Sally Russell and Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel cited Boddie’s attempts to undermine the credibility of his accuser, Bend nonprofit employee Moey Newbold, by claiming she suffered from substance abuse problems, saying he’d never been alone with her and trying to link her to the Portland group that initially raised allegations of misconduct.
“Boddie’s public response to Newbold’s allegation was reprehensible and beneath the dignity of a sitting city councilor and candidate for future office,” Hummel said. “Boddie is entitled to publicly deny the allegation, though his doing so strains credulity. But to trash the reputation of his accuser by sharing with the public what Boddie claims to be Newbold’s medical condition is disgraceful, particularly in light of the fact that Boddie is a physician.”
Newbold, who works for Central Oregon LandWatch, told OPB last week that Boddie slipped his hand under her pants and underwear at a Bend bar in 2012, when she was 23 and he was a 40-year-old physician working for St. Charles Bend. Boddie responded by attacking her credibility in a statement on Saturday. Newbold denied Boddie’s claims about her and said they amounted to character assassination.
Hummel previously supported Boddie’s campaign and donated $250 to it in June, according to campaign finance records. He said he withheld judgment when FuturePAC, the campaign arm of the House Democrats, accused Boddie of routinely behaving and speaking in a sexist way, using a homophobic slur and promoting the illegal consumption of alcohol, because FuturePAC didn’t provide details. A FuturePAC spokesman has since confirmed Newbold’s story is separate from the allegations that caused it to pull support from the Boddie campaign.
“FuturePAC handled this matter in a ham-handed fashion and should immediately release the details of the allegations against Boddie so that voters and the entire public can judge their significance for themselves,” Hummel said. “As a prosecutor, I know that the details matter in cases like this.”
Russell, meanwhile, called Boddie’s response to the groping allegation “unconscionable” and said she intended to introduce a new policy requiring city councilors and appointed city committee members to undertake mandatory harassment training. All city employees, except for some short-term employees who work through a temp agency, already go through in-person or online harassment training, city spokeswoman Anne Aurand said.
“With something this serious, it will be difficult for Dr. Boddie to effectively work with community leaders and his fellow councilors to serve our city,” Russell said. “It’s time for Councilor Boddie to resign.”
Boddie has not responded to phone calls, but his partner, Alice Finer, told The Bulletin on Saturday that he would never drop out of the race.
If he does drop out, Democrats who live in the House district would nominate a replacement. At least one Democrat, Amanda La Bell, expressed interest in replacing him, but she said Monday she wanted to refrain from speaking until Boddie stepped down, out of respect for him as the nominee. La Bell is the co-founder of the Bend Diaper Bank and the Rebecca Foundation, which provides disposable and cloth diapers to low-income families and free menstrual products to Bend-area middle and high schools.
If he resigns from the City Council, the remaining councilors would appoint a replacement to serve through the end of the year. Boddie’s term expires at the end of the year, and two people — Central Oregon Community College Director of Student Life Andrew Davis and perennial council candidate Ron “Rondo” Boozell — are already running to replace him. The council cannot remove Boddie or do anything more than publicly reprimand him.
The groping allegations already cost Boddie a position on Central Oregon LandWatch’s board, according to LandWatch Executive Director Paul Dewey. They also could have repercussions for his work as a doctor.
Boddie has worked at Mosaic Medical since 2015 after several years as a physician at St. Charles Bend, and he sometimes works from Mosaic’s clinic in Bend High School. A spokeswoman from Mosaic did not immediately respond to questions about what the allegations could mean for his work.
Mosaic’s Bend high clinic is a school-based health center and separate from the school nurse’s office, Bend-La Pine Schools spokeswoman Julianne Repman said. She said Mosaic assured her Boddie didn’t have any contact with students at the clinic.
Boddie’s medical license, which expires at the end of 2019, is in good standing, and the Oregon Medical Board has no records of complaints about him or disciplinary actions taken.
Nicole Krishnaswami, interim director of the Oregon Medical Board, said the board takes allegations of sexual assault seriously but can only act on allegations that are connected to the physician’s practice. If a physician is arrested on felony charges or convicted of a misdemeanor, the board can also act.
Boddie’s assertion that Newbold “was suffering from a number of medical challenges and ... suffered from problems related to substance use like so many other members of our community” could be a matter for the medical board.
Doctors aren’t allowed to share their patients’ medical information. They also shouldn’t have access to medical records of nonpatients and can’t share those if they do obtain them, Krishnaswami said.
Physicians also aren’t supposed to diagnose people who aren’t their patients. Krishnaswami said it would be important to know whether Boddie was speaking as a friend or as a medical professional when he said Newbold had substance abuse problems. In a Saturday statement, Newbold said the allegations were untrue and “character assassination.”
Boddie suggested Newbold could be working with FuturePAC, saying she shared office space with local members of the group. FuturePAC spokesman Aaron Fiedler said in an email the organization has no employees or office space in Bend. FuturePAC’s only members are elected Democratic representatives in the state House, and none of them is from Bend.
— Reporter: 541-633-2160; email@example.com