On the day the Deschutes County Clerk’s office began mailing ballots for the November general election, the Bend City Council publicly reprimanded state House candidate Nathan Boddie for attacking the woman who accused him of sexual misconduct and for blocking constituents from commenting on his public Facebook page.
Boddie broke City Council rules, Councilor Barb Campbell said Wednesday, while reading the city’s motion to censure him.
“As local leaders, city councilors are expected to model the types of communication and civic engagement we wish to encourage in our community,” she said. “Councilor Nathan Boddie crossed a line.”
Boddie, a Democrat who has served on the City Council since 2015, has ignored pleas from Bend residents and fellow elected officials to step down and give up his political campaign in the wake of allegations that he groped Bend environmental activist Moey Newbold at a bar in 2012.
He earned further condemnation for his response to those allegations. He attacked Newbold’s credibility, claimed she had substance abuse problems and suggested she was working with the House Democrats’ political action committee, the source of prior nonspecific allegations against Boddie of sexist and homophobic behavior.
Boddie then blocked several people from commenting on his Facebook page, which he uses to campaign and to share information about his work on the City Council.
Boddie defended himself in person for the first time, after having remained silent while other councilors and residents criticized him at previous meetings.
“I think it’s totally reasonable to defend oneself from things like this,” he said Wednesday.
He said he didn’t believe he did anything wrong and argued Newbold didn’t act like anything was wrong until June.
Boddie further argued that he doesn’t use his social media accounts for council business. He has used it to post about council actions on water and sewer fees, affordable housing and music performances.
“Sometimes I’ll comment on something from a political standpoint that’s before council,” he said.
Newbold, in a text message Wednesday night, pointed out that her job with Central Oregon LandWatch requires her to work with the city. Her boss, Central Oregon LandWatch Executive Director Paul Dewey, previously told The Bulletin he denied Boddie a spot on the environmental nonprofit’s board several years ago because Newbold told him she could not continue to work for LandWatch if Boddie was there.
“I already talked about the unfortunate reality that many people have to face when they work in close proximity with their abuser, especially if it is a person in power,” she wrote. “As a part of my job, it has been necessary to speak with city councilors about the issues I work on.”
Newbold said she appreciated that Campbell and Mayor Pro Tem Sally Russell, both of whom participated in a rally for sexual assault survivors outside City Hall two weeks ago, pushed for censure and took “efforts to show survivors that they matter.”
“Even though the public reprimand won’t actually change anything, it is important to me that the community stands up for what is right and holds our representatives accountable,” Newbold wrote.
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