Matt Hennessee Accused of Sexual Abuse

Matt hennesseeAccording to the Oregonian, Matt Hennessee sexually abused a young female relative over a decade ago. Hennessee has been rumored to be a candidate for public office - from county chair to Congress to mayor. He recently departed his post as chair of the Portland Development Commission and is the CEO of QuikTrak Inc.

Prosecutors declined to press charges in 1993 because Hennessee, the teenager and her mother refused to cooperate. But in recent interviews and a signed statement to The Oregonian, the woman, now 29, says Hennessee abused her "several times per week" from age 12 or 13 to 16.

According to the Oregonian, Hennessee admitted his conduct in an email to the woman, now age 29.

The woman also provided two e-mails that she says Hennessee sent in January 2003, after she decided to break off contact with him. In the long missives, Hennessee apologized twice for sexually abusing her, adding that he "never sexually abused anyone before you and never have since then."

Hennessee, who was about 29 to 33 at the time of the alleged abuse, did not dispute the e-mails. In his statement, he said he does not "begrudge anyone for sharing with you private and privileged e-mails." He said they were written "with the intent of aiding our healing process."

Read the Oregonian's investigative report. Discuss.

Comments

  • Becky (unverified)
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    Pedophiles just can't get contrite enough to assuage my anger and disgust over their behavior. It is, in my opinion, an unforgivable crime because the damage never goes away. They steal from children the opportunity to ever enjoy an open and healthy sexual relationship, sans major baggage, with their future spouse. They destroy that child's ability to trust. Violation of the sense of ownership and control of one's body leaves lasting scars that only a few can overcome to any degree. As a society we need to come down much harder than we do on these adults who refuse to control their baser desires and victimize trusting, innocent children. It is terribly ugly.

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    Why is he still on the Saif board?

  • DareStumpTown (unverified)
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    What I don't get is how the cocktail party of Portland goes about annointing these accendant candidates.

    First Derry Jackson, now Matt Hennesee.

    Makes you just want to dig a little more. Where's b!X when you want to hear what he'd have to say?

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    Well, I always had trouble swallowing Hennessee's public persona anyway, from a trust standpoint. Certainly this does nothing to dissuade me from that opinion.

  • Norm! (unverified)
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    It's interesting that Goldschmidt and Hennessee were both at Nike and seem to be in the same circle of politicians.

    It seems SAIF and Quicktrak are going to use the weekend to figure out a response. Quicktrak has not updated its website's press release page which now seems inappropriate:

    "The Shame! The Scandals!
    "The incriminating photos! Oh, wait. That's not really us-we're more likely to make the papers for inking a deal with an exciting new client, showcasing a new hire or important service, or for the charitable efforts of our in-house community service group, Helping Hands. We hope you enjoy reading the latest updates on Quiktrak's community activities, professional accomplishments and latest trade show events."

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    I found this on the Quicktrak website in the bio for Matt Hennessee.

    People I most admire: Reggie Jackson, Cameron Diaz, Walter Cronkite, Jimmy Carter, Coretta Scott King, Golda Meir, Lena Horne, Anwar Sadat, Bill Cosby, Barbara Bush, Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, Ted Kulongoski, Neil Goldschmidt, and Kofi Anan.

    Hmmm. I don't know what to make of the second-to-last name on the list.

  • MAG (unverified)
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    The good old boys club still exists. If I remember right, when the worker comp laws were changed to reduce costs for employers that Governor Goldschmidt was driving the bus, and Matt was appointed as the head of Workers Comp and Kulongoski was the Governor's hit man on securing the changes, eventually landing as Insurance Commissioner. SAIF was at the center of much of this.

    Then Goldschmidt went to work for SAIF and Kulongoski became Governor and appointed Matt Hennessee to the Board.

    This good old boys club - time has come. Dismantle. Many people in positions of power often don't think the laws apply to them. Let's make sure they hear from voters that these laws mean something and we won't tolerate it. Demand Gov. Kulongoski remove Matt from the SAIF board.

    If the adage is correct that "We often know a person by whom they surround themselves with" then keep this in mind in November.

  • Norm! (unverified)
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    Quicktrak updated its website. It removed the "Shame and Scandal..." text from its press release page and Hennessee's bio was replaced with a press release announcing that he was placed on indefinite administrative leave.

    To clarify, the article stated that Hennessee resigned from SAIF's board in August because his company switched workers compensation carriers. However, The Oregonian interviewed Hennessee about the scandal in July. So, his decision to resign may have been influenced by his knowledge of the newspaper's investigation.

  • Roman (unverified)
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    Check the facts, guys. Hennessee left SAIF some time ago.

  • Carol (unverified)
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    Regarding the list of those Matt most admired, interesting that Ted Kulongoski is on that list, as well as Neil Goldschmidt. Given the performance of our current governor and the actions of the prior governor, I'd sure like to know what criteria he used to compose his list. I worked for Matt when he was in state government and his charisma may have been the chink in the armor that lead to this. too, it was flattering to have him remember your name when there were more than 500 employees in the agency! Probably one of the saddest parts of the whole thing is that he has been a church pastor. Where has he lead his flock?

  • Skip (unverified)
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    With so many others, I stand in condemnation of pedophiles and the evil that they do. I also know that not every man who makes a mistake, like Matt made, is necessarily a serial pedophile. I don't think Matt is a serial pedophile - I certainly hope not. I think that he is a good and humble man who made a very serious mistake, that he regrets dearly and not just because it is now public knowledge.

    The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches the value of repentance, which is a good thing since not too many people lead perfectly sinless lives. I can think of only one.

    Repentance includes acknowledgment of the sin and its gravity, asking for forgiveness, restitution, and sinning no more. I suspect Matt's congregation recognizes that he has repented and is now ready to move on. I hope that he has.

  • Becky (unverified)
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    Like murder, child molestation leaves a lasting impact that cannot be undone - there is no restitution possible. It isn't like he stole this girl's bicycle and can just go buy her another one - a forgivable offense. Quite rightly, society sets penalties for crimes, and thos penalties must be paid regardless of whether the criminal repents or not. Forgiving someone certainly sounds sweet and wonderful and makes us all feel like we're good people, but if forgiving someone means they don't pay for what they did, then whether we feel good or not we have become bad people - people who tolerate abuse of others. So it matters not to me whether a child molester has found forgiveness from God or has repented. He still deserves jail and severe societal scorn. That child's life will never be the same, and the person who inflicted that damage should never be allowed to forget that. Society cannot flourish when it allows such heinous crimes to go unpunished, and it cannot forgive and forget child molestation without conveying to its children that they do not matter and cannot feel safe.

    Besides, the worst sociopaths in the world are also the best liars, experts at convincing people to feel the way they want them to feel. They can weep so convincingly that it will break your heart. That's why so many women are repeatedly abused - when the abuser repents, he becomes very charming and convinces the woman he will change. He romances her and wins her trust back because he knows she wants nothing more than to believe him. Inevitably, however, he beats her again. Child molesters are no different. If Matt Hennessee has found peace with his maker, good for him, but that is betwin him and God. It has no bearing on any of the rest of us - and I doubt it eases the suffering of his victim. I don't think anyone would be wise to believe he would never do it again. Child molesters almost always reoffend. He should never be allowed to move on and forget what he did because his victim will never really be able to move on.

  • Kim (unverified)
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    Wow... I hope Becky doesn't have any stones... because she is apparently without sin! Don't make any mistakes, Becky. Because you definitely won't forgive yourself.

    Not every person accused of sexual abuse is a Ward Weaver.

    Like it or not, we all have to move on. There are actual hundreds of serial pedophiles out there for us all to focus our attention, and protect our children from. Matt is not one of those people.

    If never given the opportunity to rehabilitate themselves, and make restitution with their victim(s), yes, they will continue to commit these horrible crimes. How about we focus on the real vermin that are out there and continue to hurt people, rather than individuals who have sought help and have tried to move on and make valuable contributions to their communities???

  • Marshall (unverified)
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    After abuse allegations, Hennessee put on leave Accusation The ex-PDC chief's employer, Quiktrak, expresses concerns; his church members stand behind him Tuesday, November 08, 2005 SCOTT LEARN: <ahref=http: www.oregonlive.com="" news="" oregonian="" index.ssf?="" base="" news="" 113143877032440.xml&coll="7&lt;/a">

    Kim, Becky seems to know what she is talking about. I have observed the same things in my short life. Though this is not a Ward Weaver scenario involving criminal homocide, sexual abuse can have the effects of killing a person on the inside. The scars last a lifetime. I spoke with someone who is middle aged last weekend and after years of therapy and counseling they still haven't been able to shake off the effects. Who knows what great contributions that victims could have made to our society had their self esteem remained intact and they could have remained more trusting and confident in their actions, and relationships.

    Remember that Matt broke the law!

    Had he not stalled the victim and made payments until after the statutes of limitations, it is possible he would have gone to Jail and then to Prison. This is no light matter.

    Predators tend to gravitate to occupations that place them close to their victims, such as daycare, playgrounds, schools, churches, summer camps, etc. We need to be ever vigilent and alert.

    We see this type of behavior all too often these days. Witness the results of the MSNBC show the other night about an MSNBC sting operation that captured Sexual Predators seeking young teenagers.

    The Scriptures are very clear about the qualifications for Pastors and Church leadership. If the allegations in the Oregonian article are true, Matt doesn't qualify, period.

    Pastors often are called upon to counsel very vulnerable people. Matt's personal history could only undermine his effectiveness.

    Even on simple, practical logistics.. What would happen if he, as Pastor were called upon to visit a school with a Parent, regarding a troubled child. Given his Police records, he wouldn't likely pass the school access screening process.

    I was a childhood member of Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church. It was then the largest African-American Church in Oregon. I remember visits by Gov. Tom McCall, Jerry Brown and countless others. My father still attends.

    At last Sunday's church services, there were approximately a half dozen strangers who arrived to afirm Matt. Anyone can bring friends to tell the public how good they are. This is not a Michael Jackson Trial!

    Matt has certainly increased membership, but I fear that many of the newer members are likely fans and friends who are unwilling to address the moral, ethical and victim aspects.

    Best Regards,

    Marshall

  • Norm! (unverified)
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    Skip: "Repentance includes acknowledgment of the sin and its gravity, asking for forgiveness, restitution, and sinning no more. I suspect Matt's congregation recognizes that he has repented and is now ready to move on. I hope that he has."

    I agree with forgiveness, but your sentiments completely ignore the victim. Hennesee's alleged victim chose to confirm and make public the scandal because she did not feel he understood the severity of the abuse allegedly committed by him. According to her statement quoted in The Oregonian's article:

    "'I am aware that Mr. Hennessee has also suffered in life, and I feel compassion for him,' the woman wrote in her statement. 'However, if Mr. Hennessee is not willing to speak truthfully about what happened to me, then I am concerned that he has not profited from his counseling or realized how damaging sexual abuse is for children.'

    The article also mentioned that the woman is still "...wary of him spending time alone with her children." Hennessee may not be a serial pedophile or Ward Weaver incarnation; however, his alleged victim is still not convinced that he is a safe or trustworthy person. Certainly, the victim should be allowed to share her opinion about an offender's sincerity and rehabilitation.

    Kim: "...If never given the opportunity to rehabilitate themselves, and make restitution with their victim(s), yes, they will continue to commit these horrible crimes. How about we focus on the real vermin that are out there and continue to hurt people, rather than individuals who have sought help and have tried to move on and make valuable contributions to their communities???"

    Assuming the allegations are true, did Hennessee truly rehabilitate himself and make restitution? Based on our limited knowledge and his actions, we don't really know. However, we do know that he has not publically confessed to any crimes he may have committed.

  • Momo (unverified)
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    Molesting or sexual abusing a child one time or one hundred times is irrelvant. Debating whether he is a serial "pedophile" is asinine and insulting.

    There are some things in life that are absolutely unforgivable--murder, rape, child sex abuse are at the top of the list.

    I am going to puke if I hear one more person say he made a "mistake" and learned from it. I don't care how many good works he/she has done since--that is completely irrelvant.

    We all make mistakes in life everyday--sticking your hand down the pants of a 14 year old girl is not a mistake.

  • Annette (unverified)
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    Is it impossible then, to recover from sin? Do you pay your whole life for brokeness? I hope for all our sakes that is not the case. Think about it- all the horrible things you have done or thought- what if they disqulified you from participating in life? I agree that there are consequences- and Matt Hennessee is paying them now. I believe that we are all the same, however. No one is born a monster, just born with a propensity to sin. We need saving from the crappy realities of an imperfect world. All of us. Mr. Hennessee was abandoned at birth and grew up in a series of foster homes. Who knows what kind of environments he was subjected to? I'm sure he, along with the thousands of other products of our State Ward systems, have many issues to be healed of. The fact that he was able to admit to his crime, seek forgiveness, and offer restitution is very unusual. I'm not saying he deserves a medal, but it does speak to character.

    I am also not excusing his actions. I just want everyone to think very carefully about throwing anyone away because of their past. The same forgiveness that exists for people you find utterly repugnant exists for you. We need it. And we need to allow others to receive it and be allowed to move on. Forgiveness brings freedom- even for those of us who have experienced crimes against us personally. I can forgive because I have been forgiven. That's the way to life.

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