PORTLAND, Ore. – According to a 1993 police report from the Eugene Police Department, Portland mayoral candidate Jefferson Smith told police he struck a woman with his fist during an off-campus party and the woman told police he "really popped me."
The existence of the report and its contents were first reported by newspapers Willamette Week and The Oregonian Monday night. The newspapers obtained the documents from the woman's lawyer, John Bassett, who confirmed the police reports to KATU News and sent it a copy of the documents late Monday night with the woman’s permission. KATU News is not identifying the woman at her request.
Smith signed a diversion agreement that required him to pay the woman's medical bills and do community service in exchange for not being charged with a misdemeanor. Smith also agreed to stay away from the woman.
But Bassett told KATU News that Smith came to her home on Sunday morning Sept. 30 at 8 a.m. and left a note that read: "I felt sorry then. I feel sorry now. It was an accident."
Bassett also said Smith returned to her home Oct. 4 and left another note that said, "I'm sorry."
Smith's campaign released to KATU News what it said was the entire letter. In that letter Smith wrote to the woman that he hoped what happened 20 years ago "wouldn't be a focus" because he feared it would force her unwittingly into the public spotlight. Smith assured her that he would protect her identity and said he's done his best to tell the truth.
"Any question you want to ask me, I want to answer," he wrote. "I know it's been a long time & that you're busy, but if you're willing to spend a few minutes I would be more than happy to talk ... and listen. It's also totally understandable if you don't want to talk about it."
Bassett also released a statement to KATU News on behalf of the woman.
"She does not want a microphone. She is not looking for any publicity. The only reason she has come forward now is to correct the version of events that Jefferson Smith is offering. He has said some things that just aren't true."
Smith was 20 years old on the night of Oct. 17, 1993 when he was a student at the University of Oregon in Eugene. The woman was 18. The police report described the woman as 5 foot 3 and weighing 115 pounds. Smith was described as 6 foot 2.
In interviews after the scuffle came to light last week, Smith couldn't exactly recall how he injured the woman that night.
"The recollection I had was that it was my hand, but I didn't rear back and try to hurt anybody," he told KATU News reporter Anna Canzano last Tuesday during an exclusive sit-down interview. "I just tried to shove her away and whether it was a fingernail or my front knuckles or my elbow, it was an accident."
But in the report the woman told police that Smith "really popped me" and that Smith "drew back and struck her once."
According to the report, she told police Smith hit her once in the left eye with a closed fist.
"What was I supposed to do?" Smith was quoted in the report as saying to police. "I was wrong. I admit that. I didn't know how else to handle it."
He told police he didn't intend to hurt the woman.
The police officer who wrote the report said the woman received five or six stitches at the hospital and there was some swelling.
Additionally, the woman told police Smith had been "coming on" to her "all evening" but that she rebuffed his advances.
Smith's versions of events and the police report essentially agree on how the confrontation started. The woman was lying on a couch when it was tipped or according to the report, "wiggled." The woman then attacked Smith, thinking it was he who had disturbed her.
According to the police report, Smith at first tried to stop her from hitting him by grabbing her arms.
Late Monday night, Smith released the following statement:
"This unfortunate incident 19 years ago was one of the worst nights of my life. I have tried to be truthful about what happened, and at least 4 people who were there (including those I haven’t spoken to in nearly 20 years) have confirmed that I was defending myself after being struck repeatedly. I’ve tried to take responsibility for my actions -- then and now."
KATU News Assignment Editor Colin Miner contributed to this report.