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County commission candidate abruptly dropped out of race before publication of damaging story.

CONTRIBUTED - Charles McGeeLongtime nonprofit leader Charles McGee is maintaining his silence about the sexual assault allegations that led him to drop his campaign to represent North and Northeast Portland on the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners.

Since launching an exploratory campaign last fall, McGee had raised more than $28,000 for his campaign for the county job, which pays more than $103,000 a year to oversee a $2 billion county budget. He made his campaign official on Jan. 10, filing papers with the county elections office and unveiling an endorsement list loaded with current and former elected officials.

But on Tuesday, Feb. 6, McGee suddenly announced he was dropping out of the race, saying that after discussing the matter with his wife, he'd decided that with two young children, it was "the wrong time to pursue a career in politics."

Interestingly, the announcement was sent out by a Portland criminal defense lawyer, Edie Rogoway, and it listed her as a contact. An article by Willamette Week later that day suggested why, reporting that the real reason for McGee's decision was the newspaper's imminent article about sexual assault allegations from his past.

On Feb. 7, the newspaper provided a detailed account that included a sworn affidavit from Erica Naito-Campbell, who said nearly six years ago she was sexually assaulted by McGee and another man, Aubre Dickson, after they took her to a strip club to drink. "The next day, my body was bruised all over with fingerprint marks, and I bled when I went to the bathroom," she wrote.

Dickson did not respond to requests for comment, and McGee, after denying any assault, declined to further discuss the incident, citing advice from Rogoway, according to the paper.

The paper also included details of another alleged sexual assault in 2006 by McGee and also cited reporting by the Tribune in December on a 2007 stalking order against him.

At the time of that December article, McGee's post on Facebook about the stalking case drew sympathetic comments from local politicos and community members including City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly.

But in the wake of Naito-Campbell's allegations, McGee appears to be hunkering down, deactivating his Facebook account. The Tribune's messages to him requesting comment have not been returned and the nonprofit he has long headed, the Black Parent Initiative, has removed him as CEO, placing him on administrative leave pending an investigation.

The Willamette Week article heightens the relevance of the testimony of Patrice Hardy, daughter of the late prominent pastor Rev. W.G. Hardy Jr., in the 2007 stalking case against McGee.

Hardy told a story of being stalked, of having to change her number repeatedly. She said she learned that based on a month of mere phone conversations, McGee had been telling people they were going to be married. She added that when he drank alcohol, he was a different person.

In court, Hardy testified that McGee felt he had so many political connections and lawyers that he was "invulnerable." She said that he told her about an allegation of rape in his past. Though Hardy provided no details, the timing indicates it may well have been the 2006 incident related by Willamette Week.

"He specifically stated that when he was being accused in a previous matter of rape that he wasn't worried because he has money and lawyers," Hardy told the judge, adding that in emails he sent her McGee talked about struggling with self-control. She told of screaming and being scared for her safety when he walked into a house where she was living despite her having asked him repeatedly to go away.

"It scares me because he will not leave me alone," Hardy told the judge. "He thinks that he does not have to. He thinks he has the power to walk in people's houses and nothing will be done."

McGee, in court and to the Tribune, said Hardy was lying, claiming the two had been in a serious long-term relationship.

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