Sunday, May 30, 2004

Abortion in Jewish Law

Abortion in Jewish Law
by Daniel Eisenberg, M.D.
Aish HaTorah - Sunday, May 30, 2004

 The traditional Jewish view of abortion does not fit conveniently into any of the major "camps" in the current debate over abortion.

As abortion resurfaces as a political issue in the upcoming U.S. presidential election, it is worthwhile to investigate the Jewish approach to the issue. The traditional Jewish view of abortion does not fit conveniently into any of the major "camps" in the current American abortion debate. We neither ban abortion completely, nor do we allow indiscriminate abortion "on demand."

A woman may feel that until the fetus is born, it is a part of her body, and therefore she retains the right to abort an unwanted pregnancy. Does Judaism recognize a right to "choose" abortion? In what situations does Jewish law sanction abortion?

To gain a clear understanding of when abortion is permitted (or even required) and when it is forbidden requires an appreciation of certain nuances of halacha (Jewish law) which govern the status of the fetus.1

The easiest way to conceptualize a fetus in halacha is to imagine it as a full-fledged human being -- but not quite.2 In most circumstances, the fetus is treated like any other "person." Generally, one may not deliberately harm a fetus. But while it would seem obvious that Judaism holds accountable one who purposefully causes a woman to miscarry, sanctions are even placed upon one who strikes a pregnant woman causing an unintentional miscarriage.3 That is not to say that all rabbinical authorities consider abortion to be murder. The fact that the Torah requires a monetary payment for causing a miscarriage is interpreted by some Rabbis to indicate that abortion is not a capital crime4 and by others as merely indicating that one is not executed for performing an abortion, even though it is a type of murder.5 There is even disagreement regarding whether the prohibition of abortion is Biblical or Rabbinic. Nevertheless, it is universally agreed that the fetus will become a full-fledged human being and there must be a very compelling reason to allow for abortion.

As a general rule, abortion in Judaism is permitted only if there is a direct threat to the life of the mother by carrying the fetus to term or through the act of childbirth. In such a circumstance, the baby is considered tantamount to a rodef, a pursuer6 after the mother with the intent to kill her. Nevertheless, as explained in the Mishna,7 if it would be possible to save the mother by maiming the fetus, such as by amputating a limb, abortion would be forbidden. Despite the classification of the fetus as a pursuer, once the baby's head or most of its body has been delivered, the baby's life is considered equal to the mother's, and we may not choose one life over another, because it is considered as though they are both pursuing each other.

It is important to point out that the reason that the life of the fetus is subordinate to the mother is because the fetus is the cause of the mother's life-threatening condition, whether directly (e.g. due to toxemia, placenta previa, or breach position) or indirectly (e.g. exacerbation of underlying diabetes, kidney disease, or hypertension).8 A fetus may not be aborted to save the life of any other person whose life is not directly threatened by the fetus, such as use of fetal organs for transplant.

Judaism recognizes psychiatric as well as physical factors in evaluating the potential threat that the fetus poses to the mother. However, the danger posed by the fetus (whether physical or emotional) must be both probable and substantial to justify abortion.9 The degree of mental illness that must be present to justify termination of a pregnancy has been widely debated by rabbinic scholars,10 without a clear consensus of opinion regarding the exact criteria for permitting abortion in such instances.11 Nevertheless, all agree that were a pregnancy to causes a woman to become truly suicidal, there would be grounds for abortion.12 However, several modern rabbinical experts ruled that since pregnancy-induced and post-partum depressions are treatable, abortion is not warranted.13

As a rule, Jewish law does not assign relative values to different lives. Therefore, almost most major poskim (Rabbis qualified to decide matters of Jewish law) forbid abortion in cases of abnormalities or deformities found in a fetus. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, one the greatest poskim of the past century, rules that even amniocentesis is forbidden if it is performed only to evaluate for birth defects for which the parents might request an abortion. Nevertheless, a test may be performed if a permitted action may result, such as performance of amniocentesis or drawing alpha-fetoprotein levels for improved peripartum or postpartum medical management.

While most poskim forbid abortion for "defective" fetuses, Rabbi Eliezar Yehuda Waldenberg is a notable exception. Rabbi Waldenberg allows first trimester abortion of a fetus that would be born with a deformity that would cause it to suffer, and termination of a fetus with a lethal fetal defect such as Tay Sachs up to the seventh month of gestation.14 The rabbinic experts also discuss the permissibility of abortion for mothers with German measles and babies with prenatal confirmed Down syndrome.

There is a difference of opinion regarding abortion for adultery or in other cases of impregnation from a relationship with someone Biblically forbidden. In cases of rape and incest, a key issue would be the emotional toll exacted from the mother in carrying the fetus to term. In cases of rape, Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Aurbach allows the woman to use methods which prevent pregnancy after intercourse.15 The same analysis used in other cases of emotional harm might be applied here. Cases of adultery interject additional considerations into the debate, with rulings ranging from prohibition to it being a mitzvah to abort.16

I have attempted to distill the essence of the traditional Jewish approach to abortion. Nevertheless, every woman's case is unique and special, and the parameters determining the permissibility of abortion within halacha are subtle and complex. It is crucial to remember that when faced with an actual patient, a competent halachic authority must be consulted in every case.
  1. While there is debate among the Rabbis whether abortion is a Biblical or Rabbinical prohibition, all agree on the fundamental concept that fundamentally, abortion is only permitted to protect the life of the mother or in other extraordinary situations. Jewish law does not sanction abortion on demand without a pressing reason.
  2. Igros Moshe, Choshen Mishpat II: 69B.
  3. Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat, 423:1
  4. Ashkenazi, Rabbi Yehuda, Be'er Hetiv, Choshen Mishpat 425:2
  5. Igros Moshe, ibid
  6. Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Laws of Murder 1:9; Talmud Sanhedrin 72B
  7. Oholos 7:6
  8. See Steinberg, Dr. Abraham; Encyclopedia of Jewish Medical Ethics, "Abortion and Miscarriage," for an extensive discussion of the maternal indications for abortion.
  9. Igros Moshe, ibid
  10. See Encyclopedia of Jewish Medical Ethics. P. 10, for references.
  11. See Spero, Moshe, Judaism and Psychology, pp. 168-180.
  12. Zilberstein, Rabbi Yitzchak, Emek Halacha, Assia, Vol. 1, 1986, pp. 205-209.
  13. Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Aurbach and Rabbi Yehoshua Neuwirth cited in English Nishmat Avraham, Choshen Mishpat, 425:11, p. 288.
  14. Tzitz Eliezer, Volume 13:102.
  15. Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Aurbach and Rabbi Yehoshua Neuwirth cited in English Nishmat Avraham, Choshen Mishpat, 425:23, p. 294.
  16. See excellent chapter in English Nishmat Avraham, Choshen Mishpat, 425 by Dr. Abraham Abraham, particularly p. 293.
Author Biography:
Dr. Daniel Eisenberg is with the Department of Radiology at the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, PA and an Assistant Professor of Diagnostic Imaging at Thomas Jefferson University School of Medicine. He has taught a weekly Jewish medical ethics class for the past 10 years. He moderates the monthly Jewish medical ethics study group at Albert Einstein Medical Center and lectures internationally on topics in Jewish medical ethics.


Monday, May 24, 2004

It can even happen to the daughters of Kings...

It can even happen to the daughters of Kings...
© (2004)  By San - Honorary Advisory Board Member of The Awareness Center
(See: Sanhedrin 21a for source material)
When considering the approach we take today within the Jewish community in dealing with sexual offenses and how totally ineffective it truly is. I also considered whether the approach prevalent is outside our very traditions. The following are some very brief and hastily written thoughts on the subject meant more to stimulate discussion than to be definitive statements.
We spend so much time and effort dealing with things quietly to protect the reputations of the abusers and their families that we've lost sight of the very wickedness of the crime and our responsibilities in taking action and speaking out.
Has it always been this way? The answer is no. There was a time when we had leadership, a Sanhedrin, a Kingship, Judges, Prophets and even at times a direct relationship with God when we had the Temple. What did this leadership do when a prominent member of the community sexually abused? Did they speak of the lack of witnesses and the need for proof? Did they speak about all the good the abuser did during their life? Did they speak of the need to protect the abusers' family from the shame of their child's wickedness? Were things dealt with quietly? Was the abuser quietly moved to another city to start again with a clean slate? Was Shmirat Ha'Lashon put above the protection of others? Did we ask after each crime whether it was a mere single incident?
I believe the answer to all of the questions above is simple: NO.
One of the earliest recorded cases of rape within the Jewish community is that of the rape of Tamar the daughter of King David by her half-brother Amnon. Was the incident involving one of the most prominent families in the Jewish community (at both that specific time and all time as well) hushed-up? No.
Tamar took ashes and put them on her head and tore the garment of fine wool that she wore. She did this publicly. The King's daughter publicized her rape. Why? According to R'Yehoshua ben Korchah, by publicizing what had happened to her she raised a great barrier at that time to prevent further assaults of this nature. It was said if such a horrible thing could happen to the daughters of Kings, certainly it could happen to any regular girl. If such a thing could happen to a modest girl like Tamar, it could happen to immodest girls as well.
This public act by Tamar raised the awareness of sexual assault to the general community and this awareness helped protect other women. Did the reaction end there?
No. The Rabbinical community took action as well. They instituted a Rabbinical decree at the time prohibiting certain seclusions to further protect women.
So, I ask the question, why don't our leaders act similarly? I understand we don't have a Sanhedrin, a Kingship, Judges or Prophets. How more we have the need today for both leadership and actions by our leaders.
How many will suffer before our leaders act? How prominent must the victim be and how publicly must they humiliate themselves before we are finally moved to act decisively?

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Case of Governor Neil Goldschmidt

Case of Governor Neil Goldschmidt

Former Governor of Oregon
Former Secretary of Transportation - President Jimmy Carter's Cabinet
Past President - Nike
Past Mayor of Portland, OR

Confessed to having a sexual relationship with a teenager girl while he was mayor of Portland. The statute of limitations for any criminal charge has long since run out, and Goldschmidt settled a lawsuit with the teenager, now 42, paying her a reported $250,000 after legal costs.  In a public apology, Goldschmidt pleaded: "May a forgiving God mend my broken heart and those I have broken." 

Disclaimer: Inclusion in this website does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement. Individuals must decide for themselves if the resources meet their own personal needs.
Table of Contents:  


  1. Governor Neil Goldschmidt - Oregon Historical Society
  2. Biography of Oregon political icon Neil Goldschmidt (05/06/2004)
  3. Statement by Neil Goldschmidt regarding sexual allegations  (05/07/2004)
  4. Goldschmidt Revelation (05/07/2004)
  5. Neil Goldschmidt Aftermath: Attorney Jeffrey Foote of Jeffrey Foote & Associates, P.C., Calls upon Media to Respect His Client's Privacy (05/07/2004)
  6. The Goldschmidt Resignation:  The ex-governor quits several posts amid sex-abuse allegations  (05/07/2004)
  7. Years building political clout are erased with one confession  (05/08/2004)
  8. Goldschmidt gets little sympathy (05/08/2004)
  9. Kulongoski's view (05/08/2004)
  10. Letters  (05/09/2004)
  11. Goldschmidt's shame and his enemies  (05/09/2004)
  12. Secret weighs on a public life (05/09/2004)

  1. Neil Goldschmidt Beats the Statute of Limitations, Still Remembered as Child Molester (05/26/2009)

  1. Neil Goldschmidt's sex-abuse victim tells of the relationship that damaged her life

Other cases associated with President Jimmy Carter
  1. Peter Yarrow (Peter, Paul and Mary)


Governor Neil Goldschmidt 
Oregon Historical Society

Neil Golschmidt (1969)
Neil Goldschmidt served as governor of the State of Oregon from January 12, 1987 to January 14,1991.

Born in Eugene, Oregon on June 16, 1940, Neil Goldschmidt is the son of Lester H. Goldschmidt and Annette Levin Goldschmidt. After graduating from South Eugene High School, Goldschmidt was student body president at the University of Oregon where he received his B.A. in political science in 1963. He earned a law degree from the University of California's Boalt School of Law in 1967 and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Portland in 1980. In 1964 he was an intern in the Washington D.C. office of former U.S. Senator Maurine Neuberger of Oregon. In Washington, he was recruited by Allard Lowenstein for voter registration work in the Freedom Summer civil rights campaign in Mississippi in 1964.

A legal aid attorney in Portland from 1967 to 1969, Goldschmidt began his political career as a city commissioner there from 1971 to 1973. A Democrat, he was the youngest mayor of a major U.S. city after becoming mayor of Portland in 1973 at the age of 32. Goldschmidt served as mayor until 1979 when he was named U.S. Secretary of Transportation by President Jimmy Carter. He served in that capacity through January 1981. As secretary of transportation, Goldschmidt authored "U.S. Automobile Industry, 1980," a report to the president. At the end of the Carter Administration, Goldschmidt returned to Oregon where he joined Nike, the running shoe company based in Oregon. Working with Nike from 1981 through December 1985, he became head of its Canadian subsidiary, Nike Canada, in 1986.

In 1986 Goldschmidt entered the Oregon governor's race, which saw him locked with Republican Norma Paulus in one of the state's closest gubernatorial contests in modern times. The campaign was conducted against the backdrop of the state's continuing economic distress and high unemployment. Goldschmidt focused his campaign on a blueprint for Oregon's future, and stressed his role as an innovator while mayor of Portland in the 1970s. Goldschmidt was helped by his support from many businessmen and by his own business experience. He won with 52 percent of the vote. Analysts attributed his victory to his economic program and to his record of cutting crime as mayor of Portland. In office, Goldschmidt called for "an activist state role in the economy." He was willing to place more emphasis on economic growth and a little less on environmental protection, a reversal of state policies of a decade earlier when many state residents feared growth. Goldschmidt supported an end to school closings mandated by excessive property tax levies, claiming that his efforts to promote the state as a good place to live and do business were harmed by such closings. In the area of higher education, he wanted to increase faculty salaries and to improve relations between the academic and business communities.

Although a dynamic, charismatic politician, Goldschmidt chose not to seek re-election to a second term as governor, citing marital difficulties. Another reason for his surprising decision would later come to light, however. In the spring of 2004, Goldschmidt publicly admitted to sexually abusing a fourteen-year-old girl while serving as the mayor of Portland in 1975. He acknowledged that he was worried that his sexual abuse of a minor, a felony in Oregon, would be uncovered, and that this was "certainly a factor" in his decision not to run for a second term as governor. 


Biography of Oregon political icon Neil Goldschmidt
KGW News - Thursday, May 6, 2004

Background biographical information on Neil Goldschmidt, as provided by his office on Thursday:
Goldschmidt has served as U.S. Cabinet Secretary, Governor of Oregon, Mayor of Portland and executive officer of a Fortune 500 corporation. 
Currently he has a small law practice focused primarily on strategic planning and problem solving for national and international businesses. Goldschmidt serves a limited number of clients on a continuing basis. In addition, he served on the boards of five private corporations, chairs Drug Strategies, Inc. and the Oregon Children's Foundation. He is also a member of the Board of Oregon Health Sciences University. 
Oregon governor -- January 1987 until January 1991, Goldschmidt led what has been called "The Oregon Comeback," the revival of a state suffering from nearly eight years of recession. During his term, the 56-year-old Democrat redesigned and reinvigorated the state's economic development efforts; improved the business climate through a series of regulatory reforms, including a major overhaul of the workers' compensation system; and initiated an investment strategy to repair the state's deteriorating infrastructure. 
NIKE -- Prior to his 1986 gubernatorial campaign, Goldschmidt was an executive of NIKE, Inc., serving as international Vice President from 1981 to 1985 and as President of NIKE Canada from 1986 to 1987. 
Neil Goldschmidt with Jimmy Carter (1990)
President Carter Cabinet member -- Goldschmidt served as Secretary of Transportation for President Jimmy Carter from 1979 until January 1981, and was known for his work to revive the ailing automobile industry. He also spearheaded efforts to deregulate the airline, trucking and railroad industries. 
Mayor of Portland -- Elected in 1972 at the age of 32, he was the nation's youngest big-city mayor. During Goldschmidt's years as Mayor, Portland became a national model for mass transit, building both a light rail system and a downtown transit mall. His administration made a strong commitment to preserving Portland neighborhoods, creating new downtown housing and revitalizing an aging city business core. 
University of Oregon graduate -- Goldschmidt is a graduate of the University of Oregon, where he was president of the student body. He earned a law degree from the University of California's Boalt Law School in 1967 and was a legal aid lawyer in Portland from 1967 until his election the Portland City Council in 1970 
Personal information -- Goldschmidt was born June 16, 1940, in Eugene Oregon, where his parents still reside. He is married to Diana Snowden. They have four children. 

Statement by Neil Goldschmidt regarding sexual allegations
KATU 2 News - Portland, Oregon - May 7, 2004

  • The following statement was issued on Neil Goldschmidt's behalf by the Portland firm Gard and Gerber.

Beginning in 1975, while I was mayor, I had an affair with a high school student for nearly a year. In 1994, I funded a conservatorship in her behalf, believing I was partly responsible for her difficulties coping with her life. 
For almost thirty years, I have lived with enormous guilt and shame about this relationship. I have also been afraid that it would be exposed to my family, friends and the public whose respect I have sought to earn. 
How can such behavior be erased when the damage to others and to myself lives on? I have sat in my place of worship each year at Yom Kippur, the day of atonement in my religious tradition, reading in silence, searching for personal peace. And I have found that the answer to that question is that it cannot be erased. 
The pain and damage that I have caused have been with me constantly. 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. 
I am truly sorry for allowing the relationship to happen at all, with someone too young to be responsible or accountable for her actions; for failing my first wife; and for betraying the trust of family, friends and all those who put their trust in me. 
This moment has arrived at a time when I am struggling with my health. Finding some measure of personal peace, in addition to stepping aside from my public service and business activities, is part of that struggle, part of what I must do in order to heal. 
In my life I have been blessed with a loving and supportive family, wonderful children and grandchildren, and a wife who helped me confront this issue. 
With all sincerity, I pray that God will accept my contrition and protect my family from the pain that a life led poorly in part may bring to their homes. May a forgiving God mend my broken heart and those I have broken. And may Oregonians accept this apology, even if they cannot forgive my actions.  


Goldschmidt Revelation
By Yuno Kim
KVAL TV Channel 13 News - May 7, 2004

Portland - It's a stunning admission from one of Oregon's most noted political figures.
Former Governor Neil Goldschmidt has stepped down from the State Board of Higher Education, admitting he once had a relationship with a 14 year old girl.
Goldschmidt says he had a three-year sexual relationship with a 14-year old babysitter when he was Mayor of Portland in the 1970's. 
He says he's lived with "enormous guilt and shame" for 30 years.  Goldschmidt said he decided to make a confession after being told his long-past affair with the teenager was about to be made public and because of his deteriorating health.
His disclosure came the same day he resigned as chairman of the Oregon Board of Higher Education, and as chairman of the board of the firm trying to acquire Portland General Electric.
Goldschmidt was the governor of oregon from 1987 to 1991. He also served as Transportation Secretary in the Carter Administration and as Vice President of Nike. He now runs his own consulting firm.

The Goldschmidt Resignation:  The ex-governor quits several posts amid sex-abuse allegations 
Willamette Week - May 7, 2004

Yesterday, just hours after Willamette Week posted a story detailing its two-month investigation into a sexual relationship between former Gov. Neil Goldschmidt and a 14-year-old girl during the 1970s, Goldschmidt issued a statement to The Oregonian in which he described the relationship as an "affair." The Oregonian also used the phrase repeatedly in its morning edition, including in its headline. 

But court documents obtained earlier this year by WW paint a very different picture of the relationship. These documents consistently describe Goldschmidt's behavior as "sexual abuse" and "molestation" that caused detrimental effects long afterwards.

Since Goldschmidt's confession and the appearance of The Oregonian's morning headline, psychologists and representatives of advocacy groups have questioned the use of the word "affair" to describe the abuse, which in Oregon is considered rape.

"You can't say something that is illegal is an 'affair,'" says University of Oregon child psychologist Elizabeth Stormshak. "I can't think of a way that it would be anything other than molestation."

Stormshak claims that the power relationship between a man in his thirties and a 14-year-old girl would make the possibility of informed consent minimal. There's a reason we have decided on a so-called "age of consent," she says.

"We like to think that the time when kids are able to consent comes naturally at age 18," Stormshak says. "You don't need a psychologist to tell you that this is illegal." — Taylor Clark

Thursday, May 6, 2004 
Former Gov. Neil Goldschmidt's decision to step down from the state's board of higher education and the Oregon Electric Utility Co. earlier today stunned political observers and friends alike.

Governor Goldschmidt with Diane Sawyer (1999)
In a statement issued early this afternoon, Goldschmidt attributed his sudden move to a heart condition.

Goldschmidt did not return repeated calls made to his office this week. Willamette Week understands the timing of the resignation is connected to this newspaper's two-month probe into reports that between 1975 and 1978, while Goldschmidt was mayor of Portland, he had sexual relations with a girl who was 14 years old at the time the relations began.

WW has interviewed more than a dozen people (some spoke on the record; others signed statements but requested anonymity) who said they were told about the relationship. 

In Oregon, if an adult has sex with someone under the age of 16, it is considered rape. (According to law-enforcement officials, however, the statute of limitations for prosecution has long since passed.)
Powerful public figures are often the subject of whispering campaigns, rumors and outright lies. But, during the course of WW's investigation, clear evidence emerged of the alleged sexual relationship, as well as a three-decade-long effort to cover it up. 

In addition to the statements of the people interviewed, WW has found two separate court records that refer to the relationship, though neither names Goldschmidt. Those documents, along with the interviews, suggest that later in life the woman was deeply troubled by their earlier relationship and, for the past nine years, has been receiving monthly payments from Goldschmidt.

In 1975, Neil Goldschmidt was 35 and three years into his first term as Portland's mayor. 

Saying he was mayor, however, is like saying Mozart wrote music. Goldschmidt transformed a parochial backwater into a city of international renown. Pioneer Square, Tom McCall Park and the bus mall-all are products of Goldschmidt's tenure. He cajoled Nordstrom into building downtown and scrapped a freeway through Southeast Portland to Mount Hood, using the money to build light rail instead. "Goldschmidt made the region a national model," says Oregon State University political-science professor Bill Lunch.

Governor Goldschmidt with President Carter
Goldschmidt was known for attracting smart, dedicated staffers. One of his aides happened to live six doors from the mayor's home in the Sabin neighborhood. The aide had a daughter. For the purposes of this story, her name is Susan. 

Friends say Susan was beautiful, bright and charismatic and had a warm, embracing laugh. She was 14.

According to three sources interviewed by WW, Susan claimed that one evening in 1975, after a dinner party at Susan's parents' home, Goldschmidt began a sexual relationship with the teenager. 

At the time, Goldschmidt was married and had two children, ages 6 and 3, for whom Susan babysat. The relationship would last for three years, according to the story she later told friends and lawyers. 

No one witnessed these sexual encounters, but over the years Susan and her mother told numerous people about the relationship, and more than a dozen of them retold the story to WW

These sources knew Susan in different ways at different times. They were friends, boyfriends, work colleagues, roommates and even relatively casual acquaintances. The story they recount is remarkably consistent.

"I believed the story then, and I believe it today," says a former boyfriend who dated Susan in the early '80s and says she often talked openly about the relationship with Goldschmidt. 

"She was indiscreet," adds a female friend who knew Susan for more than 10 years. "When she'd had a few drinks, she'd bring up Goldschmidt," says a woman who waitressed with Susan in the mid-'80s.

Among a circle of friends who hung out at downtown bars such as the Virginia Cafe and the Dakota, the relationship was hardly a secret.

"[Susan] talked about Neil Goldschmidt all the time. She'd get drunk and say when she was 14 years old she'd screwed him in hotel rooms," says Sheilah Wilson, who roomed with Susan in the mid '80s. "The story had been around for years and everybody knew about it."

Friends say Susan had a keen intellect, but she rarely worked and, despite intelligence, looks and charm, spent much of the '80s in a downward spiral. "She had more ability and less confidence than anybody I have ever known," says a friend from that time. 

In 1988, Susan left Portland for a new start. Soon after the move, she was abducted outside of a clinic at knifepoint and brutally raped. A suspect was soon arrested for the crime. His attorney interviewed Susan, according to court records, and discovered that she had been the victim of "prior sexual assault."

The source for this information was a counseling record in which Susan had talked about the sexual relationship she had from age 14 to 17.

The court record shows that the accused rapist's lawyer wanted to introduce Susan's counseling records into evidence.

Ultimately, the judge in the case refused to allow most of the counseling records into evidence. The rapist was eventually convicted. But some of the information was discussed in court, including clues about the man who sexually abused Susan. "The abuser was a family friend twenty-one years older than [Susan]," the prosecuting attorney told the court. He was "a family friend for many years; was the age of [Susan]'s father; certainly no stranger, according to [Susan]'s mother."

Neil Goldschmidt is 20 years, 10 months and 26 days older than Susan. 

In another passage from the court record, the man who abused Susan is a described as someone whom she had "known and trusted." 

Immediately after the 1988 rape, Susan began counseling and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome. 

Over the years, friends say, Susan periodically called Goldschmidt, sometimes in anger, sometimes in desperation. 

However, it was not until nearly 20 years after Goldschmidt allegedly first had sex with her that Susan took formal action. 

A number of sources say part of the reason she finally stepped forward was the coverage of the sexual-harassment claims against Oregon Sen. Bob Packwood and the willingness of his accusers to tell their stories. 

David Slader, a Portland lawyer who has brought sex-abuse cases against the Catholic Church, says that oftentimes it often takes women who have been abused as minors two or three decades to come to terms with their abuse. "In cases where girls have been abused, they often don't come forward until their 30s or 40s," Slader says.

In October 1994, Portland lawyer Doreen Margolin filed an application to be named Susan's conservator in Washington County Circuit Court. (A conservator is similar to a guardian.) Susan's parents were living in Rome then, and according to the application, Susan was "unable to manage her property effectively without assistance."

At the time, Susan possessed no property of value. She had been unemployed for six years and received only a disability stipend, which didn't come close to covering her expenses. Her financial situation was about to change. "The appointment of a conservator is necessary because [Susan] is filing a personal injury lawsuit in relation to her claim for injuries sustained from 1975-1978," Margolin wrote.

According to the court file, two other lawyers were involved in the claim Susan intended to file: Jeffrey Foote, a prominent personal-injury lawyer, and Jana Toran, now TriMet's legal director. Sources say Portland lawyer Ted Runstein represented Goldschmidt. 

By 1994, the injury for which Susan was making a claim was nearly 20 years old. But despite the two decades that had passed, Susan's threatened lawsuit brought remarkably fast resolution. 

Margolin made her first filing with the court on Oct. 25, 1994. By Dec. 5, her billing records show, she and Foote already had a settlement offer in front of them-one that was good enough to ensure that Susan's personal-injury lawsuit was never filed.

In preparation for filing, Foote, however, did take statements from people who knew Susan, including Wilson, to support the threatened lawsuit.
Because the suit was never filed, the name of the person allegedly responsible for Susan's injury was never stated in the Washington County records. But her boyfriend at the time told WW that Susan often talked about how she was going to get enough money from Goldschmidt to start a bed-and-breakfast on the coast. 

Margolin filed an inventory with the court showing that Susan received a settlement of approximately $250,000. After attorneys' fees, she received $30,000 in cash and an annuity, which pays her $1,500 per month for 10 years, beginning in March 1995.

The money came with one large string attached: Payment of the annuity was "contingent on confidentiality agreement," according to court records. That agreement binds Susan, her family and all of the others involved in the settlement. "I heard she got some money and agreed to shut up," a former boyfriend says.

Despite the gag order, friends who saw Susan that summer at the westside apartment complex where she lived say that she told them she'd gotten a quarter-million-dollar settlement from Goldschmidt. "She told us that she wasn't supposed to talk about it, but she talked anyway," says a woman who knew Susan for 15 years.

Neither Margolin, Foote, Toran nor Runstein would comment. When pressed, Foote would only say, "I would suggest you forget about the whole thing."

Today, Susan lives in Nevada. She's married and has a couple of Dalmatians she adores.

Portland Tribune columnist Phil Stanford, who was the first to advance this story beyond unconfirmed rumor, says he talked to Susan in February 2004. Stanford says she told him she was receiving money in connection with a settlement but couldn't talk about it.

In early April, however, when visited by WW reporters, Susan said the sexual relationship with Goldschmidt did not happen. She was abused, she says, but by somebody else. "It was not Neil Goldschmidt," she says. "I have the highest regard for Neil Goldschmidt. He never did a thing to hurt me." 

Susan's mother, when contacted overseas by WW, also denied that Goldschmidt was the family friend who abused her daughter, but she would not say who it was. 

For the past month, Goldschmidt knew WW was investigating the story of his relationship with Susan. Earlier this week, he did not respond to multiple phone requests for an interview. On Wednesday, WW sent him a letter summarizing the story the paper had prepared and asked for comment.

On Thursday, he announced his resignations. 


Neil Goldschmidt Aftermath: Attorney Jeffrey Foote of Jeffrey Foote & Associates, P.C., Calls upon Media to Respect His Client's Privacy
Business Wire - May 07, 2004

PORTLAND, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 7, 2004--The following is a statement from Portland attorney Jeffrey Foote, on behalf of his client, who is seeking to maintain her privacy following news reports that former Governor Neil Goldschmidt was involved with her 29 years ago, when she was a 14 year-old girl: 
"In the strongest possible terms, I call upon the news media to respect the privacy of my client. My client wishes to keep her name out of the news media. She is asking all of you to respect her strong desire not to be interviewed or for any information about her personal life to be divulged. 
"It is now within the media's power to further injure this woman or to rise up and act responsibly in reporting this story. My client is not a public figure and wishes to remain out of the public realm.
"Even though these activities occurred decades ago, the healing process is essentially life long. 
Privacy is essential to her continued healing. 
"If you have questions, you may contact me. I will confirm that in 1994, my client reached a confidential settlement with Mr. Goldschmidt in order to provide the financial resources for her to start a new life. I will confirm that she asks to have her name and details of her life omitted from news coverage and her desire for privacy to be respected and honored thoroughly." 
Contacts:  Jeffrey Foote
Jeffrey Foote & Associates, P.C.
Jeffrey Foote, 503-228-1133 ext. 121
cell: 503-228-1556


Years building political clout are erased with one confession
Some observers think that Neil Goldschmidt could return to public life.
By William McCall
The Associated Press - May 8, 2004

PORTLAND — Just days before a weekly newspaper was about to publish a detailed account of his affair with a 14-year-old girl in the 1970s, former Oregon Gov. Neil Goldschmidt abruptly withdrew from public life, a sudden end to one of the most storied political careers in state history.
Goldschmidt, 63, confessed to the relationship with the teenager while he was mayor of Portland, and admitted that he had paid her a financial settlement. In a public apology, Goldschmidt pleaded: "May a forgiving God mend my broken heart and those I have broken."
It was a sudden, shocking end to the career of a man known as a political rainmaker in Oregon, a top executive at Nike, and a former member of President Jimmy Carter's Cabinet. Just last fall, Goldschmidt stepped back in the state's political spotlight, taking on two major jobs: higher education reform and buying back the largest utility in Oregon from bankrupt Enron Corp.
Goldschmidt, a Democrat who was widely praised for helping transform Oregon from a backwater into a national prototype for urban planning, had spent his recent years on the political sidelines as a consultant, privately working the clout accumulated mayor, governor and as transportation secretary under Carter.
Everything changed when Willamette Week, a weekly newspaper founded by a former aide, told Goldschmidt Wednesday it was about to publish the story about the relationship with the 14-year-old that began in 1975 when he was mayor.
"There are those who will be forgiving of him, and those who won't," said former Gov. Vic Atiyeh, a Republican who served two terms just before Goldschmidt was elected to the office. "But it's a stain that's not going to go away".
Goldschmidt had issued a statement Thursday saying health problems had forced him to resign from his post as chairman of the Oregon Board of Higher Education and as chairman of the board of a firm trying to acquire Portland General Electric from Enron.
Goldschmidt, 63, said his doctor and Mayo Clinic physicians had warned him he was at high risk of a heart attack from blocked arteries, and he recently had suffered symptoms.
Brian Gard, his spokesman, said deteriorating health had been a serious concern for months.
Soon after that release, though, Willamette Week posted word of their investigation on its Web site. Goldschmidt met that day with the editorial board of The Oregonian, the state's largest newspaper, and confessed the affair, saying he needed to heal himself mentally and spiritually after living in a "personal hell" for 30 years. He spoke of seeking peace through his Jewish faith on Yom Kippur, a day of atonement.
Despite his public profile and role as political leader, the former governor was acting according to his personal faith by confessing and seeking to atone, said Rabbi Daniel Isaac of Congregation Neveh Shalom, a Portland synagogue.
"From a Jewish point of view, when one commits a moral wrongdoing, one has committed a sin to another human being that has to be righted," Isaac said. "Whether there is a public punishment involved or not, in point of fact, the wrong committed is between Neil Goldschmidt, the woman involved and God."
The statute of limitations for any criminal charge has long since run out, and Goldschmidt settled a lawsuit with the teenager, now 42, paying her a reported $250,000 after legal costs.
The damage to his reputation will linger — a fact that Goldschmidt has admitted himself.
Goldschmidt has been both a mentor and an important ally to current Gov. Ted Kulongoski.
"I was greatly surprised, saddened and upset to learn of the events that occurred while Governor Neil Goldschmidt was mayor of Portland," Kulongoski said Friday. "There is no excusing his actions. My heart goes out to the woman who has had to address this issue in her life for the past thirty years."
Several high-level Democrats think that Goldschmidt could return to public life at some point, but one of his most persistent critics, former U.S. Rep. Jim Weaver, also a Democrat, said he doubted Goldschmidt could recover.
"He's gone from Oregon politics," Weaver said.

Goldschmidt gets little sympathy
By Steve Law
Statesman Journal - May 8, 2004

During an interview Thursday with The Oregonian, former Oregon Gov. Neil Goldschmidt explains that he had a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl in the 1970s, when he was mayor of Portland.
Sexual-assault experts condemn his relations with a 14-year-old.
Former Gov. Neil Goldschmidt admitted Thursday that he had an "affair" with his 14-year-old baby sitter nearly three decades ago.
Experts have a different description for it.
They allege that it was sexual assault. Or child abuse. Or rape.
"To view this as an affair instead of as a crime would be the first mistake," said Phyllis Barkhurst, executive director of the state Attorney General's Sexual Assault Task Force.
A 14-year-old girl might have looked like a woman to the then-35-year-old Portland mayor. But a girl that age is in no position to have a healthy, consensual sexual relationship with someone so much older, experts say.
"In the eyes of the law, a 14-year-old can't give consent," said Deborah Thompson, executive director of Sable House in Dallas.
"The laws were designed to protect, in some cases, kids from themselves," Barkhurst said.
And there's good reason, experts say.
Young adolescents having sex with adults can be scarred forever, they say, even if both parties initially view it as consensual.
"The effects of sexual assault are lifelong," said Thompson, whose program aids abused women and girls. "You can't erase it." 
The long-term effects can be physical, mental and emotional, said Rhonda Stovin, a Keizer counselor who treats sexual-assault victims.
"There's no way it could be mutual because you can't give true consent if you're not really a peer," she said.
Mary Huwe, 50, of Salem said her life changed forever after she was raped in her early 30s.
"We still have feelings. We still have depression. We still have signs to kill ourselves because of what this person did to our bodies," she said.
Huwe turned to drugs and saw two sons follow her example. Both wound up in prison.
"I feel like what I touched since then, I destroyed it," Huwe said. "It makes you a very bitter person, a very angry person."
Many times, a sexual-assault victim can repress the memory for years, even decades. Later, it emerges as the root of many of their problems.
"You're never healed exactly," said Virginia Henderson, youth-services coordinator at Sable House. "You can't have a healthy relationship and you don't know why. You might be promiscuous and you don't know why. Then they realize the real bottom-line issue is the sexual abuse."
Victim suffered
The 14-year-old who had sex with then-35-year-old Goldschmidt has led a troubled life, according to a story Willamette Week had posted online Thursday. That's despite having friends who described her as intelligent, attractive and charming.
The weekly Portland newspaper reported that the woman had been given a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress syndrome after a rape in 1988. She then was unemployed for six years and lived on a disability stipend. Then, the paper reported, she filed a legal claim against Goldschmidt, and he quickly agreed to pay her nearly $250,000, in exchange for a confidentiality agreement.
Jeffrey Foote, a Portland attorney who represents the woman, confirmed Friday that his client reached a confidential settlement with Goldschmidt in 1994 "to provide the financial resources for her to start a new life."
"Even though these activities occurred decades ago," Foote said, "the healing process is essentially lifelong. Privacy is essential to her continued healing."
Goldschmidt gave his version of events Thursday to The Oregonian newspaper but wouldn't grant any other interviews with news media. However, he did issue a written apology.
"Beginning in 1975, while I was mayor, I had an affair with a high school student for nearly a year," he stated. "In 1994, I funded a conservatorship in her behalf, believing I was partly responsible for her difficulties coping with her life."
The ex-governor also asked Oregonians for forgiveness.
"May a forgiving God mend my broken heart and those I have broken. And may Oregonians accept this apology, even if they cannot forgive my actions."
State Sen. Vicki Walker, D-Eugene, who tangled with fellow Democrat Goldschmidt over his $1 million lobbying earnings from Salem-based SAIF Corp., said she couldn't sleep Thursday night after learning of Goldschmidt's admissions.
It brought up mixed emotions. Walker said she was sexually assaulted repeatedly by her father and two uncles, starting at age 5.
"As survivors, we always are on guard," Walker said.
Still, she saw some justice from Goldschmidt finally paying a price for his actions, though he escaped criminal charges.
"It is so important for women like me, whose abusers have never been brought to justice," Walker said.
She also was offended by his portrayal of events.
"It's not an affair," she said. "This was a child who couldn't make those decisions for herself. He had ultimate control."
Blaming victims
Despite ample evidence of the destructive power of sexual assault on victims, Americans often have mixed views about who is at fault. Experts call it "blaming the victim."
In California, many voters reacted unsympathetically last year to women who complained of being groped by actor-turned-governor candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger. Many Americans are sympathetic to Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant, who faces rape charges in Colorado in a case he describes as consensual sex.
Stovin, the Keizer counselor, said high-profile cases like the one involving Goldschmidt are a reminder that sexual offenders can come from any class of people, regardless of their wealth or status.
"When someone comes forward, you need to listen, no matter who they're accusing," Thompson said. "There are statistics showing that a victim will falsely accuse in a teeny-tiny percentage of the time."
Other studies show that only one in five sexual assault cases, or perhaps as few as one in 10, gets heard in the criminal justice system.
Despite the lingering effects of sexual assault, experts say counseling can provide relief.
"Emotionally you may be scarred forever," Henderson said. "What you do in there is hopefully learn to live with what happened."
Experts encourage women who never worked through their sexual-assault experiences to contact local women's centers or other programs. 
"It's never too late to get help," Henderson said.
Steve Law can be reached at (503) 399-6615.

Kulongoski's view
Statesman Journal - May 8, 2004

Gov. Ted Kulongoski, a longtime friend and ally of Goldschmidt, released a statement Thursday urging the former governor to rest and take care of his heart problems. But after Goldschmidt's admission of having sex with a young teenager, the governor issued a statement Friday with a different tone.
"I was greatly surprised, saddened and upset to learn of the events that occurred while Gov. Neil Goldschmidt was mayor of Portland," Kulongoski stated. "There is no excusing his actions. My heart goes out to the woman who has had to address this issue in her life for the past 30 years."


Oregonian - Sunday, May 09, 2004

Acts were criminal
The Oregonian erred in running the front-page headline stating that former Portland Mayor Neil Goldschmidt had an affair with a 14-year-old girl (May 7). 
While mayor of Portland, Goldschmidt committed a felony, third-degree statutory rape, then punishable by up to five years in prison. 
Criminal acts are clearly defined by our laws to protect the rights of the victims and to send a strong message that certain behaviors are unacceptable and will be consistently punished by society.
When you marginalize Goldschmidt's crime against this girl by terming it an "affair" or a "relationship" rather than a criminal act, you send the wrong message to everyone, but most of all you take away the system's perceived authority to rightfully punish perpetrators and to protect victims of crimes. 
Nature of relationship distorted
An "affair"? A grown man begins to have sex with a 14-year-old girl and the media describe it as an "affair"? This would connote the girl as being "the other woman." If we found out that our current mayor was having sex with a 14-year-old child, well, wouldn't that be against the law? So how come Neil Goldschmidt's sexual abuse of a minor is being construed as an "affair"? I think this is a terrible distortion of the nature of the relationship Goldschmidt formed with this girl. 
I appreciate that Goldschmidt is making a public statement and owning up to his destructive behavior. However, I take great issue with the media, both print and television, who are reporting this as an "affair." 
PAM HOGEWEIDE North Portland 
No limits on potential suffering
Shame on The Oregonian! Wiser editorial eyes should have caught the highly distasteful error in this headline: "Goldschmidt confesses '70s affair with girl, 14" (May 7). 
Sexual encounters with 14-year-old children are not and never have been "affairs." Rape, yes (even if "only" statutory). Sexual abuse, yes. Horrifying breach of trust when a powerful adult forever ruins a young girl's life -- yes indeed. 
We needn't let our sadness for the "mighty fallen" obscure our understanding of the enormity of this crime. There are no statutes of limitations for the suffering felt by victims of sexual abuse. 
LINDA GOERTZ Southeast Portland 
No sympathy for Goldschmidt
Thirty-five year old men do not have "affairs" with 14-year old girls. It's called statutory rape. I also question the word "sad" in your editorial (May 7). This is not a "sad" situation, it's a disgusting situation. 
Neil Goldschmidt, a la Bill Clinton, was given many gifts, charisma and brilliance. But his lack of character and decency proved fatal to his career. He was indeed one of Oregon's best and brightest, but he lost his moral compass and hurt his family and friends. 
I feel no sympathy for Goldschmidt, only for the poor child whose life he destroyed. 
JANE ANDERSON Southwest Portland


Goldschmidt's shame and his enemies
Sunday, May 9, 2004
By David Reinhard

First came a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, and then almost a chill. I swallowed as a prelude, I guess, to saying something, but was just speechless for a few moments. 
That's how it was when I learned Thursday morning that Neil Goldschmidt had had an affair with a 14-year-old high school student while serving as Portland mayor. 
He confessed that publicly Thursday and announced his resignation as chairman of the state Board of Higher Education and his withdrawal from the Texas Pacific Group's effort to buy PGE. 
No, the news of Goldschmidt's relationship with a high-school girl wasn't what was so sickening, awful as that is. Truth to tell, it wasn't even that surprising. What's truly sickening is that some sewer dwellers would dredge up and publish this "news." 
What twisted notion of the public interest would prompt anyone to reach back a quarter century and muck around in the past of two private citizens? Have our politics here become so cankered that some slug or group of slugs needs to unearth an individual's long-ago shame and shatter his life and the lives of others -- his family and the woman involved -- in the process? 
Yes, what Neil Goldschmidt did almost 30 years ago was wrong. Probably nobody knows that better than Goldschmidt himself. He had to live with the regret and shame year after year, decade after decade. 
He also had to live with the fear it might come to light. It probably ended a brilliant political career years ago, and dogged his private life. 
Yes, what Neil Goldschmidt did almost 30 years ago was wrong, awful, sickening. You name it. And it would, indeed, be newsworthy if it were happening today. It would also have been newsworthy when he was mayor of Portland or U.S. secretary of transportation or governor of Oregon. But 25 years after he left the mayor's office? Or 13 years after he left the governor's office? Is there no statute of limitations on someone's private long-ago shame? 
Not, it seems, for Oregon's political and journalistic grave robbers. 
Ah, but Goldschmidt's still a public figure. The public has a right to know! 
Goldschmidt is a public figure. True, he's not on any public payroll. He's not an elected official. The Texas Pacific Group and Goldschmidt's consulting firm are private companies. The higher-ed board chairmanship is a nonpaying volunteer position. 
Still, it's impossible to argue he's not a public figure with huge influence across Oregon. But does the public have a need, much less a right, to know what a now citizen-volunteer and private businessman did 30 years ago? 
Maybe, though the burden of proof should be on those who are bent on exposing the deep past. Why is this information important to get out to the public? What's the point? 
What's the direct public-policy connection? 
Is the fact that the information happens to be true a defense? I don't think so. There are many truths out in the world. Shouldn't relevance and humanity count for something? What has come out of scooping up this bit of untold history? 
None I can discern -- not when set against the loss of Goldschmidt's special talents to the state.
Not when set against the destruction of a man's life and public reputation. 
Not when set against the pain this will cause Goldschmidt's family and the woman who'll have to relive this episode. 
Neil Goldschmidt's politics aren't my politics. Some Goldschmidt passions -- light rail -- are my boondoggles. But you didn't need to be here long before you understood the man was a big-leaguer -- probably a hall of famer. It was more than the Neil charisma. He was brimming with his own ideas and respected those of others. He was a full-on force of nature and, increasingly as the years passed, a more joyful and compassionate soul. 
Until last week. I saw him last Monday and was struck by how drawn and depleted he was, even when discussing one of his favorite topics, higher education. Thursday morning I understood why. 
What I don't understand -- what, thank God, I will never understand -- is why people felt a need to make this sludge public now. 
We're now hearing a lot about the many ways Neil Goldschmidt changed the face of Portland and Oregon for the better. The only thing he didn't clean up, it seems, were our sewers. 


Secret weighs on a public life
Former Gov. Neil Goldschmidt's sex relationship with an underage girl sets his periodic retreats from a high-profile path in a different light
By Gail Kinsey Hill and Harry Esteve
Oregonian - Sunday, May 09, 2004

One night in February 1990, his personal life crumbling, then-Gov. Neil Goldschmidt gathered his closest friends to help him resolve his political future. 
Everyone in the room knew his marriage to Margie Goldschmidt was failing, but many thought he could -- and would -- run for re-election. He was a dynamic, charismatic and seemingly unstoppable politician whose first four years in office helped ignite what would become one of the strongest economic surges in Oregon history. 
But Goldschmidt harbored a secret that went far beyond marital problems. When he was 35 and mayor of Portland, he had committed illegal and shameful acts. He'd had sex with a 14-year-old girl, an illicit relationship that went on for at least nine months. 
The next day, Goldschmidt stunned his advisers and the state by announcing he would not seek a second term, with the explanation that his marriage was in tatters and he lacked the strength to lead the state and go through a divorce at the same time. 
Even those closest to him took him at his word. But in an interview last week with The Oregonian, Goldschmidt acknowledged that was only part of the reason. His past sexual relationship with the teenager "certainly was a factor," he said. "I knew that there would be a day coming." 
The disclosure helps explain what many found inexplicable -- that a man of his potential would retreat from public life. 
Now that his three-decade secret is out, many of his political associates are reassessing the often peculiar twists and turns of the Democrat's political path. 
He was the nation's youngest big city mayor in the 1970s, serving two terms. He is credited with spurring some of Portland's most progressive transformations. He was U.S. transportation secretary under President Carter. He was governor of Oregon. He never went further, however, not only passing on a second term as governor but also several chances to run for the U.S. Senate. 
"How could it not affect the decisions he made in his public career? It's bound to have done so," said Bill Scott, who was Goldschmidt's mayoral chief of staff and longtime friend. 
The meeting to discuss Goldschmidt's possible re-election bid was held at the Portland home of Scott, who said he never heard of the sexual abuse of the teenager. He said no one expressed any qualms about Goldschmidt running for office or about his personal life. 
Scott and other associates believe Goldschmidt based his political decisions on many factors, some personal, some tactical and some simply unknowable to anyone but Goldschmidt. 
"I have no idea how (the relationship) influenced his decisions," said Lee Weinstein, a family friend and deputy press secretary while Goldschmidt was governor. Weinstein, too, said he was stunned to learn of Goldschmidt's secret. "Obviously, this is something that has troubled him forever." 
Secret raises more questions
Goldschmidt resigned Thursday as president of the State Board of Higher Education, as well as stepping away from a leadership position in the proposed purchase of Portland General Electric.
Citing a heart ailment and other health problems, he also said he was taking a leave of absence from his consulting firm, Goldschmidt Imeson Carter. 
According to Oregon laws in 1975, sexual intercourse with a girl younger than age 16 constituted third-degree rape, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. The statute of limitations at that time was three years from the commission of the crime. 
Goldschmidt also revealed that he has been making payments to the victim since 1994 as part of a confidential legal settlement worth about $250,000. 
The news swept through political circles and raised immediate questions about how such a high-profile figure could have kept the sexual relationship quiet for so long. 
Goldschmidt said he began having sex with the girl, who lived nearby, in 1975, two years into his first term as mayor. He said it continued for about nine months. The woman's lawyer says it lasted closer to three years. 
At the time, Goldschmidt was building a national reputation as an urban champion, helping revitalize Portland's downtown, which associates attribute to his youthful idealism, vision and strong personality. He was pushy, he was moody, he was passionately devoted to the city, they say. 
Doug Capps, Goldschmidt's chief of staff following Scott's departure, says he heard rumors about possible sexual philandering by his boss, but heard nothing about an underage girl. 
"I was trying to think: When would that have ever happened?" Capps said. "There was no physical presence of any individual. It's like Neil was with people on his staff virtually constantly." 
His next public assignment took him into even headier territory. Based on his Portland innovations, including the first designs for light rail, President Carter tapped him to be his U.S. transportation secretary. 
As part of the vetting process, he was questioned about his background. Asked if he lied about having sexual contact with a teenager, Goldschmidt said, "I wasn't asked. . . . There was never a moment of anxiety" that the matter would come up. 
Sexual rumors deflected
When Carter lost his re-election bid, Goldschmidt was out of a job. To the surprise of many, he didn't look to Congress for opportunities. He went home. 
"He was always senatorial material," said Lloyd Anderson, who was on the Portland City Council with Goldschmidt and went on to head the Port of Portland. "It was always a puzzle to me why he didn't run." 
Nike hired Goldschmidt first as international vice president, then as head of Canada operations. It appeared for a time that he had abandoned public life for a lucrative private career. 
But that lasted only six years. Early in 1985, Earl Blumenauer, now a U.S. congressman, set up a meeting at the home of Ginny Burdick to explore a Goldschmidt candidacy for governor. Burdick, who later served as the campaign spokeswoman, said the central topic was money. 
Goldschmidt worried he wouldn't be able to raise enough to run a competitive race, she said, but nothing was said by anybody about the sexual relationship -- "not even a hint of anything like this," said Burdick, now a state senator. 
Goldschmidt jumped into the race later that year, knowing the secret could still come to light. In fact, a rumor about the relationship surfaced during the campaign, he said, but he was able to deflect it. 
He beat former Secretary of State Norma Paulus and in 1987 moved into the governor's office at the state Capitol. At that time, he said, the girl he had victimized began making contact with him.
Settlement kept confidential 
Almost immediately, rumors about extramarital affairs began to swirl around Salem. Goldschmidt's press aides became adept at laughing off the embarrassed queries from reporters. When Gary Hart left the Democratic presidential race in 1987 after he was accused of adultery, Goldschmidt stayed out of public sight while reporters trolled the Capitol looking for local comment. 
"I remember a lot of speculation," said Chuck Bennett, an education lobbyist who was around during the Goldschmidt administration. "It was just a lot of people talking." 
Bennett said the talk was about rumored adult affairs. He said he heard nothing about Goldschmidt's involvement with an underage girl. When Goldschmidt announced he would not run for re-election, everyone accepted the explanation that the divorce provoked the decision, he said. 
Now, he said, "You certainly wonder about the explanation that was given at the time. People are probably rethinking what they heard and what was said at the time." 
After leaving office, Goldschmidt started a consulting business with longtime associate Tom Imeson. He quickly became a highly sought-after and well-paid adviser, lobbyist and speaker. 
Reporters stopped asking questions about his private life. 
Around that time, he met and fell in love with his current wife, Diana Snowden Goldschmidt, who was a senior vice president at PacifiCorp. He shared his deepest secrets with her. Before their engagement, he told her about the girl. 
"It was terrible," Diana Goldschmidt said. "We both cried. I understood for the first time the true pain he was in. . . . I didn't understand it in the context of the man I loved, it was so far out of character." 
Soon after they were married, Neil Goldschmidt agreed to a confidential financial settlement with the woman he victimized. The agreement came after he was contacted by the woman's lawyer in 1994, nearly two decades after Goldschmidt said he stopped what he termed "an affair" with the girl. His wife helped pay for the settlement. 
It took a personal visit by Gov. Ted Kulongoski to thrust Goldschmidt back into the public sphere. Kulongoski drove to Goldschmidt's home in Portland and, over glasses of wine, persuaded him to become head of the State Board of Higher Education. 
Kulongoski said he never would have chosen Goldschmidt if he had known about the sexual relationship. 
"The allegations that have come out, I didn't know anything about, I had never heard of them," Kulongoski said Saturday, after riding in a parade in North Portland. 
At least for now, Goldschmidt has withdrawn completely from public service, planning to spend more time at his winery, the Dusky Goose near Dundee. But some who have watched Goldschmidt leave, and then return to public life believe that he could once again play an influential role in Oregon. 
Portland Mayor Vera Katz, another longtime associate, said, "I predict he will be back." 

Neil Goldschmidt Beats the Statute of Limitations, Still Remembered as Child 
By JJ Duncan
Zimbio - May 26, 2009 

Governer Neil Goldschmidt - Convicted sex offender
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.


Neil Goldschmidt's sex-abuse victim tells of the relationship that damaged her life
By Margie Boule
The Oregonian - Jan. 1, 2011

She was emaciated and looked far older than her 42 years. Her hair was thin, her eyes sunken. Her hands shook; occasionally, her whole body shook.

But she appeared intelligent, well-spoken and quick-witted. She seemed kind.

I was at my desk at The Oregonian, where I was working as a columnist in 2004, when the call came that would lead me to Neil Goldschmidt's victim.

A woman I'd written about a few years earlier was on the line. She had another story for me, she said. Her best friend since childhood was Goldschmidt's victim, and she wanted to tell her story.

I met her for the first time at her friend's house, in Northeast Portland. After several visits she decided she trusted me. She wanted to go public, she said, because the former governor had lied and misled the public about what had happened.

No one but the two of them can know exactly what occurred between Neil Goldschmidt and the woman I interviewed.

At the time I spoke with her, over the course of many visits in Portland and in Las Vegas, where she was living for a time, she clearly was an ill woman, abusing alcohol and taking powerful medications for mental illness.

We conducted our interviews in the mornings, when she was sober and clearheaded. We stopped when she felt she needed a drink.

She was precise, definite and consistent about many parts of her story. But sometimes she was unsure of dates, and a few times she gave different versions of events in her life.

She was choosing to tell her story in detail for the first time, knowing painful facts would be published and that a good many people might not believe her. In fact, some of what she said could not be independently verified and years of alcohol and drugs clearly had taken a toll on her.

But in many conversations over many months, she did not waver on the central details of her story.

She knew people had made up their minds about her, and about the kind of man Neil Goldschmidt had been and was. She knew her story was far different from the story the former governor had told the world.

In a statement released Monday, Goldschmidt said, "Although I am unaware of the exact nature of the article The Oregonian plans to publish, I was presented with a list of accusations that vary substantially from the truth. Sadly, it appears that much of her account is fabricated and I can only speculate as to her reasons."

She knew some people would believe him , not her. They'd believe she was a "mature 14," that it lasted "nine months," that it was an "affair."

She was asking people to consider another possibility. "He can deny all he wants to," she said. "But I know the truth."

She wavered at times about whether to allow her name to be used in the story. My editors and I also questioned whether renewed publicity was in her best interest, given her fragility and her history of suicide attempts. Ultimately, she decided she did not want her name to be published and the paper decided not to print the story.

Some people will be angry that her story finally has been made public today. They will say it's old news, that Goldschmidt was punished enough by the publicity his crimes received seven years ago. But those people should remember: Neil Goldschmidt told his version of this story in 2004.

Her story was different. And from the day I met her, to the day I last spoke with her before she died, she wanted the world to know her side of the story.

Here it is.

In her earliest memory of her abuser, she remembered standing beside him in an elevator. She must have been very young, because she had to reach up to hold his hand.

They were in a hotel, or some other big building. In just a moment he would lead her into a room and a crowd of people would cheer. She couldn't remember why she was by his side on this exciting night -- was it an election night?

But she remembered this: As the elevator descended, the man squeezed her hand. She might have been 7 years old, perhaps 8. But she was old enough to understand she was special. Of all the little girls in the world, she believed, Neil Goldschmidt had chosen her.  

In May 2004, Neil Goldschmidt, legendary former mayor of Portland, former U.S. secretary of transportation, former Democratic governor of Oregon, head of the state Board of Higher Education, confessed: He'd had, he told a small group of reporters and editors from The Oregonian, a nine-month "affair" with a teenage girl in the late 1970s. He was trying to get ahead of Willamette Week, which was about to publish information about the abuse that reporter Nigel Jaquiss had uncovered.

Goldschmidt said he felt "guilt and shame," but he talked more that day about his doctors' concerns about his cardiovascular system.

Publications and broadcasts across the state ran stories, often devoting more space or time to Goldschmidt's successes than to his crimes (for they were crimes, felony crimes under laws that existed at the time they were committed, prosecutors said, even though the statute of limitations had expired by the time he admitted what he'd done).

In her home in Las Vegas, his victim read the stories, which friends and relatives had sent from Oregon. There, in print, were all the failures and humiliations of her 40-plus years. There were no descriptions of her talent as a photographer, her extensive vocabulary, her generosity to friends, her love of animals.

The stories made her sound like a throwaway person, she said, a teen who'd been asking for trouble, an ex-con who might have had a hard life even if she hadn't been abused as a child by the most powerful, charismatic man in Oregon.

Years after the headlines stunned Oregonians of every political persuasion, a lot of people may think the revelation is old news. But only half the story has been told. News organizations called it "Neil Goldschmidt's secret." For 30 years, it had been her secret, too.

She'd grown tired of keeping her secret. She wanted to tell the world how her life changed the day Neil Goldschmidt first molested her, and she thought it was love.

She told me she was 13 years old when it began, not 14, not 15. In his statement Monday, Goldschmidt said, "As I read the obituary last week that gave her date of birth, I now know she was 15 when the first sexual encounter happened. It occurred after the November 1976 elections and ended some months later into the following year."

But she said she was quite sure when the first incident occurred, "because it was my mother's birthday."

There was a party that afternoon at her home in Northeast Portland. It wasn't unusual to see the mayor of Portland in her kitchen. Her parents were active supporters of Neil Goldschmidt's political career. Their home was just blocks from the Goldschmidts' house; campaign involvement had evolved into friendship.

After she entered eighth grade, she said, Neil Goldschmidt, then in his mid-30s, began to recommend books to her and engage her in private conversations. She had shed her baby fat. Her long, dark hair was thick. Photographs of her at 13 show a beautiful adolescent.

Then came January of her eighth-grade year, and her mother's birthday party. There was a crowd of adults, including Goldschmidt, at the house. "He asked if I wanted to play pingpong," she said. "We went down (to the basement) and then he said, 'Oh, do you want to come give me a hug?' "

It turned into much more than a hug. It turned into oral sex. She was afraid. She was a virgin, she says. "I'd never even kissed a boy. Far from it."

That day, in those secretive, terrifying, confusing moments in her own basement, a door opened in her childhood. Her awful future rushed in, and the woman she might have become left forever.  

To her 13-year-old self, it was terrible and wonderful, confusing and thrilling.

They had sex frequently, she told me. Sometimes the mayor would call the eighth-grader after she got home from school, when her parents were at work. Other times, she said, they'd use secret signals to arrange their meetings.

She would watch from an upstairs window for when his car went by. "Because if the lights blinked," she said, "it meant he was coming in. If they didn't, he was just going home."

She remembered feeling torn. "The attention was flattering. ... Among our social group, he was idolized. He was a golden boy who could do no wrong. ... And he was incredibly charming. He was also very earthy and sweet and cruel. He was lots of different things."

In some ways, he was becoming a mentor. He gave her a book: "Cry, the Beloved Country." He gave her reading lists. He explained city policy issues to her. But the mentoring went further.

He told her how to dress, she said. "He didn't like the way I looked." She began to diet. She loved Neil Goldschmidt, she thought. She wanted to please him.

"But there was always a malevolent underlying current, it seemed," she said. What they did together in private felt secret and dirty. "I'd get these feelings in the pit of my stomach."

She was a child, with a childlike desire for attention. She didn't like the sex very much, she says. But she liked the closeness to this man everyone admired.

And, in a childlike way, she believed him. He told her, she said, that someday he'd divorce his then-wife, Margie, and marry her.

"I was so totally naive ... so stupid," she said. "I may have been a little intellectually precocious, but relationship-wise I was as naive as you get."

She began her freshman year of high school at St. Mary's Academy in downtown Portland.

It was clear she didn't fit in with the other 14-year-olds. But then, she wasn't at school much.

"He'd pick me up by the fountain," a block from the school, "in the black car," she said. "He always had a driver."

After her freshman year, she dropped out of high school. It's painful for her to think what her life might have been like, had she not dropped out. "I had so much potential,"she said. "I was so bright. I loved to read, I loved to learn."

Her adolescence should have been an unfolding. Instead she was afraid. She was lonely. And she was getting angry.

"I started feeling like I was being used," she said. She already was using alcohol and drugs. At 15, she said, she attempted suicide.

She took Valium and drank from a bottle of Grand Marnier, but it didn't work. "I woke up. I was really groggy."

Nobody found out, she said. She eventually passed her high school equivalency test and enrolled at the University of Oregon Honors College when she was 18.

"I did it to a certain extent to get away from him," she said. "But his parents lived in Eugene, and he came to visit me." They were always surprise visits. One time she returned to her room and he was there, she said.

Of course, by then she was no longer a minor. By then Neil Goldschmidt would not have been committing a crime every time he was intimate with the 18-year-old.

"It was consensual, he would say," she said. But it didn't feel like she had a choice, she said: "I felt I was under his control."

When she moved to New York City in the early 1980s to take summer acting classes, she remembered, he showed up in her apartment, unannounced. "He always seemed to know where I was," she said.

Neil Goldschmidt has told reporters the relationship lasted varying periods of time. At first, in his interview with The Oregonian, he said nine months. Later, in the same interview, he said "two calendar years." Other news organizations reported it ended after three years.

She said, though, the sex with Neil Goldschmidt continued throughout his tenure as mayor, his years in Washington, D.C., as U.S. secretary of transportation, the years he worked at Nike and even into his term as Oregon's governor.

"It lasted until I was 27," she told me.

The Oregonian has no independent reporting that substantiates this, but it is consistent with what she told friends and family members through the years. Goldschmidt said it ended "some months later" in the year after the abuse began.

By the time she was in her mid-20s, she was scrambling -- for rent money, for a good job, for love, for escape from the pain. She used drugs and alcohol more heavily. It was when people thought cocaine was cool, she said. "Before people started dying. We didn't think it was addictive."

Her life was on a downward spiral. She had sexual relationships with rock stars, married men, cocaine-snorting attorneys.

And she started sharing the secret. She told her lovers that Neil Goldschmidt had seduced her when she was 13. Or she'd sit at a bar in the Dakota Cafe or the Virginia Cafe and tell strangers.

"I was a blabbermouth," she said,"because I had started to feel he owed me something."

The contrast between the life of the respected statesman and the life of the sometimes-unemployed cocktail waitress was stark and painful to her, a former straight-A student who, as a little girl, had once dreamed of becoming a Supreme Court justice.

She attempted suicide several times. She spent time in psychiatric wards in local hospitals, under suicide watch. When she got out, she'd return to work in bars, and to drink in bars. And she'd tell her story to more people. 

Word got back to Neil Goldschmidt that she was talking. "A friend of mine had a call from a friend of his and said she was in a public establishment, and I would presume not entirely in great shape, telling the world that she had had a relationship with me," Goldschmidt told The Oregonian in May 2004.

Suddenly there appeared in her life people she called Neil's "handlers." Neil wanted to help, she said they told her. He wanted to help her get her life on track.

In May 2004, when Neil Goldschmidt told The Oregonian his sexual relationship had ended when his victim was a teen, he was vague when asked how many times he'd seen her since. "It wasn't really '75 to '94," when the settlement agreement was reached, he said. "It was really '90 to '91. It was the time after I was elected governor and -- I don't remember, but I mean it was more than twice and -- it wasn't 10 times, it wasn't eight times, it was -- several."

On Monday, he said, "In the ensuing years, I met with her intermittently at her request always with a third party present and tried to help her with counseling, bills, debts, rehab, and finding a job."

In those meetings, she said, "first they were going to get me a job in Portland or Salem. Then they must have decided they should get me the hell out of town."

When she was 27, she said, Neil helped get her a job at a Seattle law firm. "I was very happy in Seattle," she said. "It was like a new start. I had a beautiful apartment with a view of Elliott Bay."

But just three months after she began her job at the law firm, a man named Jeffrey L. Jacobsen kidnapped and brutally raped her. He was convicted and is now in prison.

She returned to Portland severely traumatized. Sometimes, in her mind, she'd confuse what Neil Goldschmidt had done to her as a child, and what her attacker had done to her in Seattle. Her fear of the man who was now governor of Oregon was tied, in her brain, to her fear of the man who'd raped her.

Word of the rape eventually reached Goldschmidt. "I subsequently learned she was just brutally assaulted," Neil Goldschmidt told The Oregonian in May 2004, "and bad things happened up there for which she's probably blameless, in the sense that she didn't invite it -- I mean literally ask for it. But she was always putting herself in circumstances like that."

After the rape, she was unable to hold down any job. She was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, she said. She said she saw Neil Goldschmidt only once after the rape. "I was so afraid of him all I could do was cry." It was their last intimate visit, she said. For the first time since she was 13 years old, she could no longer be in the same room as Neil Goldschmidt.

"After that, I would not answer his phone calls." In fact, she said, "I actually would vomit every time I heard the phone ring."

Her drug and alcohol use became even more extreme. She was arrested for trying to buy what turned out to be fake cocaine from a federal agent. After a plea bargain, she was convicted of attempting to possess cocaine. She violated probation by drinking alcohol and ended up in federal prison in Pleasanton, Calif.

Neil Goldschmidt was making deals in a wood-paneled office in Oregon's state Capitol. His victim was hiding in the fetal position beneath a bunk bed in a California prison cell, howling.

They put her on medication. They sent her for counseling. And, for the first time, she began to understand the enormity of the crimes that had been committed against her.

After 17 years of guilt and shame, she said, "It became clear to me that as a 13-year-old you aren't capable of making a decision to have an affair."

It was the counselor, she said, who explained that Neil had broken the law when he had sex with an underage girl. "It wasn't until I went to prison," she said, "that I realized he'd taken away my childhood."

She was released after six months, determined to seek reparation for the damage she believed Neil Goldschmidt had done. One by one, attorneys refused her case. Finally, someone recommended she see Jeff Foote.

Foote, a Portland lawyer, believed her and decided to help her when no one else would. "To this day, he's never taken a dime in legal fees for everything he's done for me."

Foote explained that the statute of limitations had long run out, so there could be no criminal charges filed. But she could still file a civil suit and collect damages. Foote contacted Neil Goldschmidt's attorney. In the end, "We came to a settlement agreement," she said. "Jeff thought that was the best thing to do, because I was still emotionally very fragile."

With regular payments coming in every month from Goldschmidt, her future finally seemed more secure.

She met a big bear of a man in Portland, a man who loved Harley-Davidsons and good food and her, and she married him. They moved to Las Vegas. She started a new life. She tried to forget.

But the nightmares she'd had since she was a teenager continued. She drank too much. She had trouble sleeping. She couldn't keep jobs. And then, in the late 1990s, the reporters from Oregon started calling.

At first the contacts were sporadic. Reporters would call, fishing for information she had promised never to reveal.

She'd accepted payments. She'd signed documents. So she lied to the reporters: Neil Goldschmidt was a great statesman, she said, a close family friend who had not molested her or threatened her or tried to buy her silence with money or jobs or tried to control her.

But the reporters trusted their instincts more than her protestations. The day the story broke, May 6, 2004, Foote called from Portland and recommended she leave her home to protect herself from a media frenzy.

"I was a total basket case. I didn't sleep for three days." She packed a bag and moved into a Las Vegas hotel, the first of many in the area she'd live in for the next few months.

Reporters sent e-mails and letters and phoned requesting interviews, demanding interviews. Media vans parked in front of her house. But they couldn't find her as she moved from hotel to hotel.

The news brought old feelings to the surface again. "It's all being rehashed, and I feel the old shame, the guilt, the fear. ... Those are feelings I should not be having" -- in therapy she had learned she was the victim, not the criminal -- "but I have them nonetheless. I'm also lonely. I'm very isolated."

She worried about money. She couldn't always afford to pay for the psychiatric medications she needed. The monthly payments from Goldschmidt had ended, she said, and the confidentiality agreement was moot.

"He's the one who broke the silence, I didn't," she said. "My attorney says once he spoke out, I was free to talk as well." In May 2004, Neil Goldschmidt told The Oregonian that the promise of confidentiality was necessary because "we couldn't figure out any way that she could start her life over without doing it."

Now, she wanted to tell her story. She wanted people to understand the true nature of Goldschmidt's crime. In her opinion it was not a "mistake" that never should have been made public, as his supporters had written. Instead of living in the governor's mansion, she believed, he should have been in a prison cell.

"He should have been punished. He shouldn't have been able to have this magnificent political career and hide this huge secret," she said. "He says (it) worried him for 30 years. I don't know how much of that I believe."

As happens to so many victims of child sex abuse, "sexually I had to grow up fast," she said. "Unfortunately, it made me feel that's all I was good for. I felt I was less than everyone else. I was just someone's sexual toy."

She felt he came forward with his confession and his public apology, his front-page expression of regret, only because he was about to be exposed for what he'd done to her as a child. The only time she ever saw an indication that Neil Goldschmidt took responsibility, she said, was when she was handed a brief statement when the settlement was signed.

"I'm not sure exactly what it said because we had to burn it, or shred it, right after I saw it. I only got to look at it a little while." She did not remember an apology in the statement. "But I do know he said, 'It was not your fault.' It was just one sentence. But he had to say that. ... it was part of the agreement."

She knew there were people in Oregon who felt sorry for Neil Goldschmidt, because the abuse had been made public, because his reputation had been tarnished. Someone sent her a newspaper article saying his ex-wife, Margie Goldschmidt, had thrown a party for Neil, apparently so his old friends could show their support.

"Don't these people have children?" she wondered. "How would they feel if he'd done this to their daughters?"

One of the reasons Goldschmidt's victim decided she wanted to speak out is she hoped parents might read her story and become more aware of the need to protect their children from even the most trusted family friends.

"They need to be vigilant, notice behavior changes, the appearance of people. Give your kid a cell phone. Instruct them about the dangers. Talk with them, have family dinners, make sure you know what's going on in their lives."

She hoped her family would understand why she wanted to speak out. She hoped they would understand she was tired of being portrayed only as "Goldschmidt's victim, the throwaway person ... this little nothing person nobody ever thought was worth paying attention to or protecting."

She hoped they would understand her need to finally tell the truth, "to stop keeping the secrets." She'd felt stronger, she told me, since she decided to speak out. She still had nightmares. But when awake, "I'm not scared anymore. Well, sometimes I get scared," she said. "But I just can't let this destroy my life any longer."

In our many visits, Goldschmidt's victim occasionally spoke of recovery, of finishing her college degree, of becoming a writer or some other kind of professional. But I think we both knew she was so sick, so broken, the odds were against her. She and her husband divorced and she returned to Portland. For the last five years, she was supported in every way possible by her parents.

She told me she grew close to them in ways she hadn't experienced since before the abuse began. But the mental illness, the addiction to alcohol, and the memories were more powerful than her wisps of dreams for a better future.

Over the last five years, she called me every few months to check in. She would ask about my life, and share her own struggles. She was honest about her alcoholism and mental illness. She tried and failed to keep jobs.

She began to write and joined a writers' group. She called me about a year ago and asked me to help her write her autobiography. But then she became too ill to do the work.

She died of undisclosed causes Jan. 16 in a local hospice. Her death was not a surprise to me. Even in 2004, when we first met, there had been so little life left in her.

"She was a beautiful, brilliant person," her mother told The Oregonian. "She was a good person who suffered a great deal in her life."

She was a very good person. She deserved far more than years of abuse and a shattered adult life. At least now her story has been told.

Goldschmidt's response - January 31, 2011
Last week the woman with whom I had an illegal sexual relationship 35 years ago died. I was shocked and saddened to learn of her death.

I wish to express publicly my enormous personal guilt and remorse for the damage I contributed to her young life experiences. The fact that these actions have haunted me since is no punishment for what I did.

To her family and friends, I am truly sorry for your loss of her at such a young age. I know she was well loved by all of you.

Although I am unaware of the exact nature of the article The Oregonian plans to publish, I was presented with a list of accusations that vary substantially from the truth. Sadly, it appears that much of her account is fabricated and I can only speculate as to her reasons. As I read the obituary last week that gave her date of birth, I now know she was 15 when the first sexual encounter happened. It occurred after the November 1976 elections and ended some months later into the following year. The reality is that it does not matter because she simply was not old enough to consent to sex and it was my moral and legal obligation to be the responsible adult.

In the ensuing years, I met with her intermittently at her request always with a third party present and tried to help her with counseling, bills, debts, rehab, and finding a job. I learned through those meetings that she had a complicated and tragic personal history before, during, and after I was in her life and she suffered from it as badly as anyone might. I have come to terms that this guilt will continue for the rest of my life. I am not trying to defend myself because there is no defense for what I did. This is simply a restatement of my apology and sorrow for all of those concerned.

From the moment I publicly confirmed my shameful conduct, the press has speculated about who knew or who assisted in covering up my actions. The reality is simple: I was far too ashamed to talk with anyone about it. With very few exceptions, I left my children, my best friends and my colleagues in the dark. None of them asked or presumably knew of my terrible secret. Many of them have suffered greatly from my actions and the resulting speculation and misinformation by others that has been widely publicized in the press.

I have tried to focus on paying off a debt of my own creation one that a lifetime of penance will not erase and to do so by the way I live. In the 35 years since I failed this young woman, her family, and my family, the pain has never eased. There are days when I believe it would be better if I were lifted from this earth and removed as a cause of pain for others and to find quiet for myself. Until this occurs, I will do my best to remember the person I damaged by doing right by the lives that surround me.

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