PORTLAND, Ore. - More than a year after denying it, newly sworn-in Mayor Sam Adams admitted on Monday to lying about a sexual relationship he had with a teenager for several months during the summer of 2005.
In a phone interview with KATU, Adams apologized for not being honest to the public about his relationship with Beau Breedlove, whom he said was 18 at the time they had sex.
"I want to publicly acknowledge a mistake I made, and I want to apologize for it," said Adams, who was in Washington D.C. for Tuesday's inauguration.
The statement came after the Willamette Week newspaper broke the story about Adams' untruthfulness Monday afternoon.
Adams, 45, lied when reports of the relationship first surfaced in 2007 as the then city commissioner was beginning his run for mayor.
At the time, he said he simply acted as a mentor to Breedlove, pictured above.
He told KATU then that suggesting anything else about the relationship was an attempt at political assassination. SEE THE INTERVIEW
At the time, he also wrote an "Open Letter to Portlanders" to respond to the controversy, calling it simply "ugly politicking."
On Monday, however, he told KATU he lied about the sex because he didn't think people would believe it occurred when Breedlove was 18. Adams said untrue rumors were circulating at the time that he had broken the law involving sex with a minor.
In the phone interview with KATU, Adams gave a candid account of how the two met, saying Breedlove was a legislative intern working at the Capitol in Salem who looked like a professional rather than a teenager. The two had lunch in 2005, during which Adams learned Breedlove was two months shy of his 18th birthday.
Adams said he told the teen he did not date underage people. They stayed in contact and later in the summer went on a few dates once Breedlove was 18, Adams said.
At the time, Adams said, he was coming out of a divorce and was dating several people casually.
When the controversy erupted in 2007, Adams told reporters Breedlove came to him for advice about being a gay politician and they went to dinner and exchanged text messages but the two were never alone together.
Despite the rumors, Adams coasted to victory in 2008, making Portland the largest U.S. city to ever elect an openly gay mayor. He was sworn in Jan. 1.
"I want to apologize to the people of Portland for my dishonesty," he said. "I should have been truthful from the beginning."
He added that he had asked Breedlove, who is now 21, to lie about the relationship and that was a mistake. Adams said he never told his colleagues, staff, friends or even family about the sex. He added that he remains friends with Breedlove.
"I just hope people will accept my apology and take a whole view of my public service career," Adams said.
He said he would be cutting his Washington D.C. trip short and return to Portland. He scheduled a press conference for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.
When asked whether he thought his political career was over, he said, "Time will tell."
- The Associated Press contributed to this report