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From: Bart (129.171.32.13)
Subject:         Christian values -- head of Christian Coalition molested 3 pre-teen family members, police say
Date: October 11, 2005 at 9:57 am PST

Local Christian Coalition Official Did Molest, Family Members Tell 'The Oregonian'

By E&P Staff

Published: October 10, 2005 11:45 AM ET

NEW YORK After news broke that local law enforcement officials were investigating complaints that Louis Beres, longtime chairman of the Christian Coalition of Oregon, had molested three female family members when they were pre-teens, The Oregonian in Portland went out and interviewed Beres' family members.

Two told reporters that Beres, indeed, had molested them. All three said they have been interviewed for several hours by detectives.

"I was molested," said one of the women, now in her early 50s. "I was victimized, and I've suffered all my life for it. I'm still afraid to be in the same room with [Beres]."

The coalition led by Beres, 70, champions socially conservative candidates and causes. Its Web site describes the group as "Oregon's leading grassroots organization defending our Godly heritage." The group opposes abortion, gay rights, and stem cell research. It is affiliated with the national Christian Coalition, which was founded in 1989 by television evangelist Pat Robertson.

The group confirmed Beres is under investigation for alleged molestation. According to The Oregonian, Beres blamed "personal and political enemies" for the reports and said, "I never molested anybody."

Beres is also former chairman of the Multnomah County Republican Party.

In a statement on the coalition's Web site today, Beres denied any criminal conduct and said he wanted to "reconcile" with those making the accusations, if he can find out who they are. "I have asked The Oregonian to provide the information so I might proceed as the Bible tells each of us to proceed," he wrote.

Two of the alleged molestations occurred decades ago and likely would not result in criminal charges because state law limits prosecution of certain crimes. But one case may fall within statutory timelines. It involves a female family member who was allegedly molested by Beres when she was in elementary school, authorities said.

Beres' family members told The Oregonian that they called the child abuse hotline last month after several women in the family said they openly discussed for the first time what happened with Beres.

Rich Galat, 41, of Oakland, Calif., a Beres nephew, said he told detectives that Beres has molested several female family members over two generations. "My family has gone through hell," Galat told the newspaper. "Lives have been ruined. Those of us who have come forward have been ostracized, verbally abused and the victims of character assassination . . . . It must stop."

E&P Staff (letters@editorandpublisher.com)

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