Dannyboy is the screen name of a college student who chatted with Mayor Jim West online at Gay.com and had dinner with him. He became reporter Bill Morlin's first source about the Mayor's online activities. In this interview, Dannyboy describes his encounter with West and his dealings with The Spokesman-Review. He also talks about some inaccuracies in how the newspaper reported his story.
Morlin was The Spokesman-Review's lead reporter in the investigation of Jim West. He talks about the origins of the investigation and the paper's decision to hire a computer forensics expert to pose as a 17-year old named Moto-Brock on a gay chat site. He also talks about his interview with Jim West the night before the paper ran its story charging the mayor with abusing his office and sexually molesting boys in the '70s.
A month after the newspaper began reporting on Mayor Jim West, Oelrich announced he had resigned from Spokane's Human Rights Commission the year before because he believed Mayor West had appointed him for romantic reasons. The two had chatted on Gay.com, but Oerlich says initially he didn't realize he was talking to the mayor. Here, Oelrich talks about how his dealings with West and his opinion of the mayor's double life. He also talks about his own struggling with his sexual identity, hiding it from friends, family and his church.
Perkins is a public high school teacher in Spokane. Like Jim West, he grew up in Eastern Washington in the late '50s - early '60s when there was little discussion, and less tolerance, of homosexuality. Like West, he had a "hidden life," unable to come out to friends or family. But unlike West, Perkins began to open up about his sexuality a few years ago and is now openly gay. He describes the pain of leading a double life, his slow process of coming out and his anger at West for his hypocrisy and support of anti-gay legislation.
A political reporter for The Seattle Times, David Postman covered Jim West during the years when he was a Washington state legislator. Here, Postman talks about West and his political career. He also offers background on the city of Spokane and The Spokesman-Review, its owners and its new editor Steven Smith -- all of which factor into the story of the newspaper's aggressive investigation of Jim West. And Postman raises questions about how that investigation was conducted.
As editor of The Spokesman-Review, Smith led the newspaper's aggressive reporting on the West story. More than 180 stories exploring allegations of illicit sexual behavior, abuse of power and political hypocrisy were published by the paper in the eight months after the first story appeared. In this interview, Smith discusses the paper's reporting and answers questions concerning the methods and propriety of the investigation.
West was the popular, socially conservative mayor of Spokane, Wash. In 2005 he was outed by the city's newspaper, The Spokesman-Review. It told a sordid story of a man with two lives: In public, he had sponsored anti-gay legislation; in private, he allegedly trolled for young men online. The paper's initial reporting also alleged child sexual abuse in the '70s. The paper's stories sparked city and federal investigations and a Dec. 2005, recall election in which West was voted out of office. On Feb. 16, 2006, the FBI closed its 10-month investigation, finding no evidence to charge West with the abuse of office. Five months later, on July 22, he died of cancer. In this interview, West recounts his "brutal outing" at the hands of The Spokesman-Review, denies the charges against him and accuses the newspaper of violating his privacy. He also talks, guardedly, about his sexuality. This is an edited transcript drawn from two interviews conducted Nov. 18, 2005, and Feb. 12, 2006.