Affidavit: Kulongoski denies knowledge of sex abuse case


Gov. Ted Kulongoski has repeatedly said he didn't know that former Gov. Neil Goldschmidt had sex with a 14-year-old girl until it became public knowledge in 2004.

Kulongoski reiterated that claim today in a signed, sworn statement he sent to state investigators. The governor was asked questions about Goldschmidt as part of an investigation into allegations that Multnomah County Sheriff Bernie Giusto lied about his knowledge of the Goldschmidt's abuse. Giusto could lose his badge if the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training determines Giusto was dishonest.

Kulongoski's spokeswoman, Patty Wentz, said the governor is unhappy that the issue has returned because of the impact on his family.

"Any time kids see their father being accused in the newspaper, it's hard," she said. "Anyone who has children would understand that. Especially on an issue that has been rehashed over and over again."

Kulongoski also is the subject of complaints to the Oregon State Bar association on the question of what he might have known about Goldschmidt's abuse. The complaints are under review, a bar spokeswoman told The Oregonian.

The governor walked away from a news conference a few weeks ago when asked about a complaint that says Kulongoski was told about the abuse by a former Goldschmidt speechwriter, Fred Leonhardt, who in turn learned about it from Giusto. Kulongoski later apologized for leaving the news conference.

Leonhardt told The Oregonian in 2004 that he had several conversations with Kulongoski in the early 1990s about Goldschmidt's relationship with the teenager. Leonhardt repeated his assertion in a sworn affidavit that he gave to state investigators. Kulongoski denied those conversations in his notarized affidavit, Wentz said.

Leonhardt stood by his story today.

"I have told the same story over and over again," he said. "Everything I've said has checked out."

Goldschmidt acknowledged in 2004 that he had sex with the girl in the 1970s, when he was Portland's mayor. The abuse was revealed as Goldschmidt was preparing to lead the sale of Portland General Electric to a Texas company offering to buy the utility from bankrupt Enron Corp. The sale eventually collapsed and Goldschmidt retired from public life.

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