Neil Goldschmidt

On May 7, 2004, Portland newspaper the Oregonian, ran a shocking letter written by former Oregon Governor Neil Goldschmidt in which he admitted to repeatedly having sex with a 14-year-old girl.

The sexual abuse went on for 9-months, according to Goldshmidt, in 1975, when he was mayor of Portland. Though the sexual relationship was consensual, sex with a child younger than 16 constitutes 3rd-degree rape in the state of Oregon, and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Unfortunately, justice would not be served. Despite Goldschmidt’s public admission of guilt, the statute of limitations for the case had run out.

“The pain and damage that I have caused have been with me constantly,” he wrote in his letter. “I have known all along that my private apologies and actions, deep and true though they were, would never be enough. I apologize now, publicly and completely.”

Goldschmidt’s political career ended that day. He resigned from several organizations and he moved all the way to France to avoid living the rest of his life in a state where he had instantly become an infamous villain.

The revelations brought back speculation over Goldschmidt’s decision in 1990 not to run for a second term as governor following his divorce from Margie Goldschmidt, who he had been married to since 1965. Many at the time thought skeletons in Goldschmidt’s closet might have kept him from running.

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