Johnny Quest in Hell

“For the record, I don’t give a hoot what a mayor’s sexuality is. Many of our previous mayors struck me as bloodless asexual pod people. I never said a word. But whether or not you believe West’s denial on the child abuse claims, he undeniably violated the public’s trust.” — Doug Clark

“When I was younger I used to like cartoons like every kid, but I always hated a cartoon called Johnny Quest because it reminded me of the other man that used to molest me with Deputy Hahn, the man who started me on drugs to cover the pain he inflicted on me. Not long after Deputy Hahn killed himself, this man left Spokane and became a senator, eventually becoming the State Senate Majority Leader. Last October while I was waiting in a jail facility to go to prison, this man contacted the jail and threatened to file criminal charges against me if I said anything about him. I was called to the office and threatened by the director, a Mike Panek, not to say anything to him or about him. This man also came to the facility himself and threatened me to keep quiet. He is no longer the State Senate Majority Leader. In October or November of 2003, he was elected Mayor of Spokane. Now with everything from my past, I have to live with this man who molested me, started me on drugs, being the Mayor of the city I’ve lived in most my life.” –Robert Galliher

“Vulnerable kids, like Grant and Galliher assert they were, are often the ones targeted by pedophiles and child molesters, experts say. And once they become victims of abuse, many of these children grow up to become troubled adults and struggle all their lives to recover.” –Virginia de Leon

“Accurate naming of the behavior is an important step to reshaping our thinking about this troubling reality. Only when we name the behavior accurately can we hope to have a healing outcome for all involved.” –Molly Harding

“Over a period of several months, RightBi-Guy offered Moto-Brock autographed sports memorabilia, prime seats for Seahawks and Mariners games, help getting into college, an internship job in the Spokane mayor’s office and the promise of trips to Washington, D.C. In mid-March, Moto-Brock told RightBi-Guy that he’d turned 18.” –Bill Morlan

“He offered me $300 cash if I’d swim naked with him in my swimming pool.” –Ryan M. Oelrich

“When I told him I wasn’t qualified for that job, he told me I would be qualified if I was a friend of the mayor’s.” –Unnamed source

“The FBI has opened what’s called a ‘preliminary inquiry’ to determine whether a full-blown investigation should occur.” –Thomas O. Rice

“I categorically deny any allegations about incidents that supposedly occurred 24 years ago as alleged by two convicted felons and about which I have no knowledge.” –Jim West

“I’ve always liked people younger than me. Just felt more comfortable with people either younger or older.” –Jim West

“I’m being destroyed because I am a gay man, which is fine. I’ve been in public life, I can accept that. Because I am a gay man, because of this double life, it has been hell …. Yes, I know it’s not about being gay, I know that. There are other things.” –Jim West

“Someday I may run for governor and this would be bad if you know what I mean.” –Jim West


  1. Danny Westneat says

    This scandal has not one thing to do with West’s sexual orientation. He is not being destroyed for being gay. Switch the gender and see what you think. If he’d allegedly abused 8-year-old girls, cruised the Web for 18-year-old girls, given a job to a 23-year-old woman he met online and then hounded her for dates and offered her $300 to swim with him naked, don’t you bet he’d still be in trouble?

  2. Bob Apple says

    Who did we elect? He’s a phony. He’s a fraud.

  3. Cherie Rodgers says

    It’s out of one disaster, into another. You want to put the best foot of the community forward, but this clouds everything.

  4. Rob Brewster says

    He really has helped change the tenor of the city. It’s too early to say he is guilty. But it’s too late to say he is going to be a success. I think it effectively erases what he has done.

  5. Dennis Hession says

    What you have to say to people is that there are a lot of good things happening in Spokane that are independent of this problem.

  6. Patrick Guerriero says

    If all or any of the allegations of sexual misconduct are true, then the mayor should resign immediately.

  7. Dave Zeeck says

    All said, the stories were pertinent and explosive. But they were undercut by using the computer expert as date bait, by taking political sides on whether the mayor’s politics were hypocritical and by using the offer of an internship as the “smoking gun” when we don’t know if it’s a cap pistol or a .44 magnum. A little more restraint – and a little more reporting – would have made the stories more pointed and more powerful.

  8. Michael Arrieta-Walden says

    The methods used for a story of allegations of sexual misconduct involving Spokane’s mayor will be debated by journalists for years.

  9. Darrell Dorrell says

    The Spokane matter is EXACTLY the type of work that newspapers are ideally suited to conduct and commensurate with their journalistic responsibilities to the public.

  10. Katie Larsell says

    In this case I approve because the crime involves children and abuse of office. I wouldn’t approve if it was just to find out that the guy was gay.

  11. Bob Whiteside says

    People pose as fictitious characters in newsgroups and chat rooms all the time. . . . The mayor was a real risk-taker by interacting with a person who was most likely using an alias …. The bottom line for me is law enforcement and journalists should use all the resources available to them. I believe focusing on the practices used to do investigative work is less meaningful than the quality and accuracy of the information uncovered during the investigation.

  12. Stan Seleen says

    If someone is suspected of actually violating law, it should be left to law enforcement to carry out stings. Even law enforcement officers, with lots of training, are always in danger of creating a situation of entrapment. I think the media loses credibility when it steps beyond simply reporting the news.

  13. Wyatt Newman says

    The real issue, misconduct with minors involving abuse, is lost amidst the explicit sexual activity, the Web site contacts, homosexuality, matters that truly are private.

  14. Tom Detzel says

    It’s a pity they had to undercut the credibility of an otherwise fair and relevant report by setting up a phony identity and luring West into a trap.

  15. Peter Bhatia says

    The heart of these decisions is that they are made locally, and any rush to judgment is premature. Clearly, the editors in Spokane agonized over bringing in the expert, and that decision deserves a truly thorough analysis.

  16. Kelly McBride says

    In general, I discourage journalists from using deception to get a story, but this case comes pretty close to passing the test I use.

  17. Jane Kirtley says

    I absolutely deplore it. Journalists should be journalists. They should not be cops. It is not an appropriate role for journalists to be conducting sting operations.

  18. Ted S. McGregor Jr says

    This is an extremely sad moment for Spokane. Just when we got over the divisive politics of the parking garage issue, and just when the city seemed poised to make a name for itself right alongside Portland, Seattle and Boise as a dynamic city on the rise, this comes along.

    But how we overcome this adversity will define our future. There’s no time for the “poor us” routine: If we wallow in this controversy for the next three years, we will sow salt in these lands that are just now beginning to bear fruit again. If we move on, without passing immediate judgment on the most damning charges against West, we may yet become a stronger, more enlightened city. Right now, Jim West alone has the power to let us move on with the least amount of public trauma, but it will take the kind of selfless decision only true leaders make.

  19. Knute Berger says

    The headline “Boy Scout leader molests boys” is starting to read like a dog-bites-man pronouncement that surprises no one these days. But the alleged crimes here aren’t about public outrage but about the real, sometimes lifelong damage done when adults sexually exploit kids. These crimes go way beyond the stupidity of using your government computer for sex chats or having a private life completely at odds with the public policies you propound. We’re talking about rape by folks who are trusted to take care of the kids they’re abusing.

  20. Sheri Barnard says

    We are sad about Jim West, but he needs to resign and seek help for his own sake and the good of our community.

  21. Herb A. LeSens says

    I guess he meant “angel” in the George Katakouzinos greek movie sense of the word?:

    Battling colon cancer two years ago, Washington State’s senate majority leader James West, who was at the time also a mayoral candidate…confided that his illness had brought him closer to his maker.

    He had come to believe that his supporters’ prayers had helped drive back the malignancy. West joked that he imagined God, inundated with requests for his recovery, was barking, “Get me an angel. I need to know who this Jim West guy is.”

  22. Alison VonDerLand says

    Mayor West’s sexual orientation may not be the crux of the matter, but it also may not be entirely irrelevant. Just as the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church was primarily a matter of predatorial homosexuals going after boys, so the mayor seems to be an example of a certain gay subculture that idealizes man-boy sex. It’s not the same as saying, simplistically, that homosexuality is bad, but of being honest about the facts — that the mayor’s homosexuality is a factor in his bad behavior.

  23. Jonathan Webb says

    If I lived in Spokane, I’d vote to fire him at the next election. But, that would be my decision. I am unfamiliar with the laws regarding patronage jobs in Washington State, or, Spokane. Historically, Mayors in the this country can offer positions to anyone for any reason.

  24. Jonathan Potter says

    I think the primary value of the relatively recent stuff documented by the paper is that it lends credibility to the two men who claim Jim West raped them when they were kids. Based on that, I think the due process of law ought to kick in and he should have his day in court, followed by some prison time. And then he should be monitored as a registered sex offender. I doubt that he could continue on as mayor while serving time in prison.

  25. Jonathan Webb says

    I’m unfamiliar with the recent stuff. If he molested minors he should be locked up in a safe, comfortable location for the rest of his life.

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