Election Central

Idaho Rep. Patterson says accuser admitted fabricating rape allegation

Rep. Mark Patterson, R-Boise, is offering a new account of what led to his being charged with rape in Florida in 1974, including that a private investigator “obtained a tape recorded confession by the woman making the charge which established that she had fabricated the incident….”

In Sunday’s Statesman, Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney said he has revoked Patterson’s concealed weapons license because Patterson failed disclose he had pleaded guilty to assault with intent to commit rape in 1974, receiving a withheld judgment.

In a 3-page news release provided to KIVI-Channel 6 and KBOI-Channel 2 shortly before 9 p.m. Sunday and then revised and sent to the Statesman at 5 p.m. Monday, Patterson says, “…I had absolutely no sexual contact with this person whatsoever.”

In a 1974 Tampa Police report, Detective L.S. Lynch says Patterson told him he had sex with his 46-year-old accuser once. Then 21, Patterson described the act as “balling,” saying “she was even on top for awhile and that she did not resist him at any point,” Lynch wrote.

The woman, however, told police she was forced to twice to have sex with Patterson, saying he threatened to have his 85-pound Doberman pincher attack if she refused, according a report by Tampa Police Detective Myrtle Ellison.

In a 2 ½-hour interview with the Statesman Oct. 31 in his attorney’s office, Patterson said he had no recollection of the events that led to his rape arrest on May 15, 1974, citing memory loss associated with chemotherapy for hepatitis C virus in 2003. He did say “the cops lied” about the facts in the case.

“Listen, you gotta understand,” Patterson told the Statesman. “I did chemotherapy, a double dose every week for six months back in ’03. A lot of my memory is gone. I don’t remember stuff well.”

In Patterson’s Sunday statement, however, he says he was “scared and beaten badly twice while held in one of Florida’s most violent jails. In literal fear for my life, I accepted a plea arrangement for a withheld judgment which placed me on probation for five years. All I wanted was to get out of there and be reunited with my family.”

In his interview with the Statesman, Patterson did not say he’d been beaten or mention violent conditions. Asked about how long he was in jail, he said, “I have no idea — a little while.”

Patterson did not send the Statesman a copy of his statement Sunday, but KIVI provided the newspaper a copy. Patterson and his attorney did not reply Monday to requests for the statement and a copy of the audio recording of his accuser recanting.

In his statement, Patterson said his accuser “had fabricated the incident because she was angry that I would not give her money.”

Detective Lynch’s report says Patterson alleged the woman became “cocky and bitchy” after they had sex and asked for $10. He says he refused and fell asleep. According to the police report, Patterson says he was awakened when police arrived to arrest him.

Patterson declined to speak to either television station. But he said the Statesman and Sheriff Raney are engaged in “a bare-knuckled campaign to intimidate me from serving the people of Idaho,” adding, “I will not be silenced so long as God gives me the strength.”

In Sunday’s statement, Patterson said his family hired a lawyer and private investigator to continue working on the case after his guilty plea in July 1974. “After two years’ additional work, our private investigator uncovered hard evidence that the police report was full of inaccuracies and conflict,” he said in the statement.

On July 21, 1976, Patterson’s 24th birthday, the Florida court ended Patterson’s probation three years early. Patterson told the Statesman on Oct. 31 that Judge Harry Coe III signed the termination of probation “as a birthday present to me.”

In the Statesman interview, Patterson discussed the work of the Florida attorney and private investigator but said he couldn’t remember their names and had no access to any evidence they uncovered. Patterson did not say anything in the Statesman interview or subsequent emails about his accuser recanting.

“We’re talking 40 years ago,” Patterson told the Statesman Oct. 31. “I don’t have that stuff.”

“All he’s got is (his probation) was terminated early and it was done on the same date as his birthday,” said Patterson’s Boise lawyer, Wade Woodard, during the Oct. 31 interview.

In the Oct. 31 interview, Patterson said that after his guilty plea his father “got the attorney on it with an investigator and then they got enough information they went back to the judge.”

Patterson quoted his Florida lawyer recounting a conversation with Judge Coe said: “He said, ‘You tell your client I’m going to go ahead — since it’s close to his birthday — and sign all the paperwork on his birthday. And I want you to understand that the system really does work if you stick with it.’”

About a year later, Patterson was again charged with rape in his hometown of Cincinnati. Prosecutors alleged he choked a woman and threatened her life in forcing her to have sex on June 17, 1977. Patterson was indicted in July, but acquitted by a judge in September 1977.

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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Posted in Election Central, Idaho Politics