Tualatin Mayor: Announcing for fifth term on the same day housemate arrested for child porn

Carla Axtman

This probably isn't the headline that Tualatin Mayor Lou Ogden hoped would run on the day he announced his candidacy for a fifth term:

Tualatin mayor's housemate arrested on child-pornography charges

Ouch. But, it gets worse.

More:

Law enforcement arrested William Dana Leverence, 48, at his Northeast Portland job site following his indictment this month by a Washington County grand jury. Authorities said Ogden did not know of the alleged criminal conduct until their Dec. 4, 2008, search. Leverence continued to live at Ogden's home through his arrest today.

Investigators from the Interagency Child Exploitation Prevention Team served a search warrant on Ogden's two-story Tualatin home 18 months ago, confiscating computer hard drives and at least two computers from a bedroom, said Washington County Detective Gary Wright, the lead investigator on the case. Authorities later performed a computer forensic analysis that uncovered images of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct, Wright said.

Leverence faces 20 charges of encouraging child sexual abuse in the first degree. He is scheduled for arraignment at 3 p.m. today in Washington County Circuit Court.

Ogden, a Republican, has shared custody of his two teenage daughters, according to sources I spoke with today.

In what is becoming a theme for Republicans running for office in Oregon this cycle, what kind of horrendous judgment does it take for Ogden to let this guy stay in his house EIGHTEEN MONTHS after police showed up to search and take computer equipment? Jeez.

It's especially bad if Ogden's daughters were staying in the house over this duration.

Comments

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    Ugh ... I am normally a big fan of your work Carla, but this hyper-partisan, guilt by association narrative you are developing is silly and mean-spirited.

    This style of “reporting” does a disservice to our political climate and to the progressive movement. There are so many policy issues conservatives are wrong on that need greater scrutiny!

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      I just read the post again and saw that he allowed the man to live in the house AFTER the search was conducted. This does show poor judgment on his part.

      However, to suggest that Republicans are protecting sex offenders is silly and unseemly.

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        Noah:

        Please read both posts again. I have not suggested that Republicans are protecting sex offenders.

        I am saying that there's a pattern here of very bad judgment by two GOP candidates for office, both related to individuals who are accused of sexual offenses.

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          Yet Carla reserves calm status quo reporting when it comes to accused sexual assaulter Al Gore.

          Carla, please just do us a favor and admit that you relish reporting certain issues about republicans that you won't report about democrats.

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        Except that she didn't suggest that GOPers are protecting sex offenders.

        What she did suggest is that allowing the man to continue living there for 18 months, while he had shared custody of two minor girls, appears to demonstrate horrendous judgement. I couldn't agree more.

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          In what is becoming a theme for Republicans running for office in Oregon this cycle

          Nope, you're right, that's not suggestive.

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            Suggestive, yes. But of what?

            The end of the same sentence you partially quoted: "...what kind of horrendous judgment does it take for Ogden to let this guy stay in his house EIGHTEEN MONTHS after police showed up to search and take computer equipment?"

            Reading comprehension... what a concept.

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              "Reading comprehension... what a concept."

              Yes, if a liberal were to write "I don't who don't love our country", conservatives would read "I don't love our country."

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    Al Gore and Sam Adams like this.

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    So now people's personal lives are fair game in politics if we think that reflects on their judgment?

    Hmmm . . . so what does it say about someone's judgment if he gets married within two weeks of getting sworn in as governor and then gets divorced within two weeks of leaving office as governor?

    I used to think that would just be his personal business, but now I see that it may reflect on his judgment. So if there were a candidate in that situation, I guess that's a legitimate issue for people to blog about.

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      Jack:

      The decisions people make in their personal lives have been part of the calculus of US politics since the time of Thomas Jefferson (if not before). This is not new.

      What if the person in question was arrested for something completely unrelated to public office, only to their personal life. Would that still be a nonfactor in your view?

      The notion that its illegitimate to have a discussion about a candidate's bad personal decisions because its somehow completely unrelated is farcical. Of course its related--especially when it comes to their judgment about people.

      It also cuts both ways. If a person receives accolades for something completely unrelated to their public life--they still use those accolades when touting their candidacy. Shall we delegitimize those things as well?

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        Carla, criminal conduct is different from making an issue of someone's conduct as a parent, spouse or neighbor. Voter's can take anything they like into account (including things like race, gender and ethnicity, which we all publicly agree is inappropriate but we know some people do anyway).

        I think when a blogger decides to make a public (and blatantly partisan) issue out of a person's fitness for office based on his conduct as a parent, that crosses the line. That is particularly so when, as in this case, the blogger doesn't have all the facts and is drawing uninformed conclusions.

        But, it's a free country, and you can post whatever you want. I just think we al need to think about where this might lead if that becomes the norm in Oregon politics (which, compared to many places, remains relatively clean).

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          Yes, people take all kinds of things into account--some considered inappropriate, some not. Certainly people's private life stuff, when it's positive, is touted by candidates all the time--their marital status, how many kids and pets they have, where they live and for how long, etc. That's apparently all fair game.

          And yes, I am blatantly partisan. That's why I write for a partisan political blog--just like essentially every other political blogger in the nation. It's not as if I'm hiding my light under a bushel.

          I do think it's interesting that it's news enough for the Oregonian, but not news enough for me to blog about and analyze. You may disagree with my analysis (points which I'm happy to debate--in fact welcome). But the friction here doesn't seem to be about the debate--but whether or not we should have the discussion at all.

          It's already the norm in Oregon politics (and everywhere else in US politics that I know of) to discuss personal life issues. We do it with divorce, affairs, if they're hanging with celebs, how many homes they own, a person's medical situation, how many kids they have, etc. And I think we could both agree that there are lines that are appropriately drawn as to what's fair game.

          That somehow a person's judgment about their private dealings with people that are a current or potential danger to the community (sexual offenders, in the cases of Dudley and Tualatin's Mayor) is not fair game in this context seems out of whack to me. Certainly it's much more relevant than say divorces or affairs..or even being stuck serving on a board with a controversial figure.

          We've had our share in this state of politicians using bad judgment in their personal situations--and seeing that have a profound effect on their public office. Jack Bogdanski has made that case with Sam Adams for a year and a half.

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    I don't purport to be able to see into people's minds the way others are apparently able to do. I am worried about the witch hunt atmosphere that these posts create.

    Based on what we have in front of us, whether this constitutes "bad judgment" or not. Ogden was contacted a single time by investigators about allegations. According to the story, there was no follow up for 18 months.

    Ogden had known the person for 5 years. He knew the person's children.

    Until I know about lot more about how others who are much closer to this situation feel about it--most notably Ogden's ex wife--and what the specifics of the allegations are --"child porn" is a very broad category (what if the guy was looking at pictures of 12 year old boys, would it then not constitute bad judgment?) then I am unwilling to infer much from the story.

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    By whatever measure you want to use I think we can all agree that Lou Ogden had a very bad day Wednesday. Otherwise he wouldn't have surrounded himself with a phalanx of local virtuous worthies like Andy Duyck and Denny Doyle, and spent a goodly portion of his time in the limelight explaining that child pornography is a bad thing(duh) instead of why electing him as mayor for a fifth term would be a fine thing.

    It's no witch hunt to observe that this is bad politically. The difference between a governor who marries and divorces dependent on an election cycle and Ogden's situation is the FBI doesn't involve itself in marriages of convenience and divorce won't get you a perp walk or mug shot in the O.

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      And of course Ogden didn't get a perp walk or a mug shot in the Oregonian, either. Nor did Kulongoski, when a state employee who had been his spokesman early in his first term was busted for having child porn on his state computer.

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        But Jack, the Kulongoski operative was a DEMOCRAT. We just don't talk about those things.

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        But did Kulongoski continue to employ him for 18 months after he was busted?

        That's the issue here -- Ogden continued to live with Leverence for 18 months after the seizure of his computers, and continued to have Leverence in his house with Ogden's teenage daughters during that time.

        I suppose it's possible that Ogden had no idea about the computer seizure, but it seems unlikely.

        The point Carla is making is that his behavior shows bad judgment.

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          "But did Kulongoski continue to employ him for 18 months after he was busted?"

          Exactly!

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          He was quietly terminated in 2004 but charges weren't filed against him until 2007, after Kulongoski was reelected.

          Do you guys really want to play this game of who gets to sit in judgment of whom?

          So far there lhave been no allegations of any impropriety relating to Ogden's daughters. And he's been mayor of Tualatin for 16 years, so you'd think the residence have already gotten a pretty good idea about his judgment on public matters. But now we're going to second-guess how he raises his family based on incomplete information and no criminal convictions?

          I take it you guys are now endorsing Donna Zajonc's statement when Frohnmayer thought he'd be running against Goldschmidt: "May the best family win!"

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            Elections and campaigns are all about the people judging who is best to represent us, Jack. It's very much about us "sitting in judgment".

            This isn't about how Ogden raises his kids. But its definitely about how he chooses to run his home based business.

            Just like the Dudley issue is about his public testimony on public policy.

            These are all the types of issues we'd discuss with any other candidate. And yes, the people of Tualatin may decide they know enough about Ogden already and will vote for him anyway. Or they may decide this is problematic.

            Either way, it's up to them. And trying to sweep it under the rug doesn't serve the community.

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            "Do you guys really want to play this game of who gets to sit in judgment of whom?"

            Yes, I do. It's called "voting".

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              So it appears Carla, a normally excellent writer has succumbed to indentity politics. This is usually something she rails against and tries to stick to specifics.

              Hmmm, and here I thought all along it was only conservatives and republicans who lashed out at the personal lives of politicians when they couldn't attack specific program ideas.

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                Kurt, do you really think that continuing to host someone in your home, along with your teenage daughters, for 18 months after the person's computers were confiscated for allegedly containing child-pornography, is not a legitimate campaign issue?

                It would be helpful to know how much Ogden knew 18 months ago. If he knew what happened then, it really does show poor judgment.

                If the police did not inform him, considering that there were two teenagers in the house, then the police showed poor judgment, and should be held accountable.

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                  No Michael, I really do not believe this is a legitimate campaign issue. But then I also waited for the verdict on OJ. I didn't like the verdict, but I waited for it.

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                    So, if OJ had been running for office during the trial, you would have opposed making that a campaign issue?

                    Interesting.

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                      Interesting point Michael, I would not have. Noer wold I have brought up Edwards' divorce and illegimitamite child if he had earned the democrat nomination.

                      Did you 'defend' Clinton during his impeachment hearings based on the fact that what was reported was private and consensual between two adults?

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                      First off, Kurt, it's "Democratic" nomination.

                      Second, Edwards divorce hadn't happened in 2008 (and still hasn't happened), though the affair was known by the fall of '08

                      I actually did not defend Clinton's behavior, and found it quite troubing -- sexual relations between superiors and their subordinates are always suspect.

                      I find it odd that if a candidate for office were on trial for murder, you would expect it not to be a campaign issue. I just find that very hard to believe.

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                Kurt:

                "Personal life"? Hardly. We're talking about a business (that happens to be run out of his home) where teenagers happen to likely be around. Just because he happens to be at his house doesn't make it his "personal life".

                In what other business where kids are likely present would a person under investigation for child pornography be allowed to remain? And since when are businesses run by candidates considered irrelevant in a political campaign?

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                  Carla, once agin when you don't like the point of the criticism you change the focal point. You are an excellent writer, but change the debate when countervailing views are presented.

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                    Kurt: Of course I changed your focal point. That's because you're working off the false premise that this is some sort of "private life" scenario that is taboo to discuss. We certainly discuss a candidate's business affairs all the time (hell--Allen Alley designed both of his campaigns around that..and Chris Dudley's personal philantropic efforts star in his TV ads).

                    As I mentioned up thread to Jack Roberts--I think we can agree that there are private life things that cross the line for the media. But businesses and public testimony on public policy issues (re: Dudley) are far from over it.

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                      Carla, your comment about Lou Ogden is not about his "business;" it relates to your assessment of his fitness as a parent.

                      I didn't have a problem with you posting the story about Chris Dudley's testifying as a character witness, nor the Oregonian running the story about Lou Ogden's housemate being arrested. These are facts and, I believe, legitimate news.

                      Where I question your judgment is in taking the next step and publishing the conclusions you do about both men based on insufficient personal knowledge but a strong political bias.

                      You have every right to do it but it does reflect on your judgment and your character.

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                        Jack: I've said this before, but it bears repeating apparently. Ogden runs a business that happens to be in the vicinity of children. Just like a school or a childcare, it's not about fitness as a parent--its about the good judgment to not keep a person around under serious investigation for child pornography.

                        You're working off the premise that there is somehow "insufficient personal knowledge" to analyze the situations in question. I call BS. There's ample evidence in both the Dudley and Ogden situations to make a reasonable call as to whether or not they showed good judgment in their respective situations. Not only is it my role to analyze, it's my role to be politically biased.

                        Keep in mind that your concerns over character and judgment cut both ways. You certainly have every right to question my analysis, just as I have every right to question your own motives for trying to sweep them under the rug.

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                          Once again, Carla, you can't stick to the facts but charge ahead like a bull in a china shop. As I have said repeatedly, I have no problem with these stories being reported, which means I am in no way trying to "sweep them under the rug."

                          But your grossly misleading characterization of a person renting out a room in his house as "operating a home business" and your characterization of this occurring "in the vicinity of children . . . like a school or childcare" ignores the fact that it was HIS home and HIS children.

                          But maybe you can explain why, if there really was a significant risk here, law enforcement officials waited 18 months after seizing the computer before they arrested the suspect.

                          You and I both know that if Lou Ogden were a Democrat you'd be saying it was reasonable for him to assume that, not having heard anything for a year-and-a-half after the computer was seized, they must have determined there was no problem.

                          It's all well and good to have a political bias. But when your bias affects your judgment people have a right to call you on it.

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                            Yes Jack, you have no problem with me regurgitating Oregonian (and other papers) news stories. What you're trying to sweep under the rug is a reasonable analysis based on the facts as presented.

                            You're now asserting that Ogden heard nothing about the investigation over the entire 18 month period after the computer equipment was seized. Please cite your source.

                            Lots of people run daycares out of their home, Jack. Is it now your assertion that these aren't businesses that should be subject to scrutiny on who they allow around children because it's their home and they perhaps have their own children in the daycare?

                            More likely is that this is a convenient way for you to defend a Republican who clearly made a bad judgment call.

                            That's quite a hole you're digging for yourself.

                            And you can call me out on whatever you like. I'm certainly not editing you. But when you're foolish about it (as you have been in this thread), don't be surprised when you're called yourself--as you have been.

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                              So you're now claiming that Lou Ogden ran a day care out of his home? Get real. He rented a room. That's not operting a business.

                              His children weren't among the children living there, they were the only children living there. The person identified by the press as his "housemate" wasn't a stranger, he had been living there for 5 years and apparently they were personal friends.

                              You're argument is that he should have been thrown out when the police confiscated his computer, even though they did nothing about it for 18 months. Once they arrested him, Ogden says he kicked him out.

                              You need a reality check, Carla, particularly when you turn around and lecture Republican candidate's for their "insensitivity."

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                  No, Kurt, Carla has hit the point exactly on the head -- allowing someone to continue to be around teenagers shows poor judgment. Exercising judgment is a big part of the job description for Mayor.

                  Though I'm torn about whether recall is the correct remedy for his actions, I do find Sam Adams' judgment troubling, and have no problem with it being a campaign issue in the next election. Do you, Kurt?

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                    Michael, I have no problem with Sam Adams' alleged affair with the legislative staffer. I'm not a Portland citizen and glad to have no dog in the fight.

                    FWIW, I would not have voted for him in the first place. I disagree with many of his political ideas and would have voted for someone else. IF I were a voter in Portland and IF Sam Adams ran for re-election I would want an answer regarding why Sam lied when asked about the affair. Politically, that would be my point of conern regarding those actions. I do agree that recall is not the correct remedy in his situation.

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