There's been a lot of back and forth over Pulitzer-Prize-winning Williamette Week reporter Nigel Jaquiss' exposé of the affair between Portland Mayor Sam Adams and 18-year-old intern Beau Breedlove. Was it an astounding display of journalistic prowess or an unnecessary prying into someone's legal sex life. In a story this week, Newsweek falls firmly in the former camp.
As the story notes, Adams is practically lionized by some while others are calling for his resignation. I'd like to see a little more nuance in the whole thing. Maybe we shouldn't call for his head for doing something legal, but that doesn't mean we can't spend a little time and effort thinking about best ethical practices for someone in a position of power.
students, even those over 18, and mayors shouldn't knock boots with
their interns. But it also seems there's a big difference between the
things you shouldn't do and the things you should be punished for.
And that's what bothers me about the Newsweek story; it's missing that distinction. The story parallels Jaquiss' research into Adams' sex life with his prize-winning investigation of former Portland Mayor and Oregon Governor Neil Goldschmidt, who had sex with his 14-year-old babysitter. Maybe Adams' position of authority means he shouldn't have had sex with Breedlove, but it is not the same thing as statutory rape of a 14-year-old.