Our View: Idaho deserves full disclosure from Patterson

November 15, 2013 

Lawmaker's Campaign Claims

Rep. Mark Patterson, R-Boise, owns and operates a lubricant manufacturing plant in West Boise. Rock ‘N’ Roll Lubricants sells its products internationally for bicycles, motorcycles and firearms.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE

“... And the truth shall set you free.”

Rep. Mark Patterson is in public opinion jail, where constituents hold the keys and voters will arrange for any pardons and releases.

We think Patterson belongs there and we believe the only way he is going to get out is if he decides to surrender himself to complete transparency about his life — especially regarding criminal activity.

He is the person who decided to enter politics and become a public figure and project a patriot/family man image. He is the person — the only person — who knows the depth and breadth of his past.

We need full disclosure about his mysterious past in order for any kind of relationship to continue.

Patterson, a Republican and freshman member of the Idaho House from District 15 in Southwest Boise, has some explaining to do about rape charges earlier in his life in Florida and Ohio, about misrepresenting himself and his credentials in campaign materials in 2012, and being vague about other things the public now questions about his ability to tell the truth.

He has been remanded to public opinion jail because of what has come out after Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney moved to revoke his permit to conceal and carry a gun earlier this year. Raney did this because of Patterson’s previously undisclosed guilty plea to assault with intent to commit rape in a 1974 Florida incident. That makes him a felon on that count. He was acquitted of a rape charge in Ohio in 1977.

Though, at times, Patterson says his memory is failing (due to a medical issues and treatment) regarding details of the two rape charges, police reports speak loudly and clearly from the past. In the 1974 Florida incident, the alleged victim stated to police that Patterson used a dog to intimidate her and if “she did not do as he (Patterson) told her,” the 85-pound Doberman “would attack on command.”

Patterson’s family hired a private detective whom, he says, obtained a recording of the assault victim later recanting her rape charges. We would listen to that if it even exists and can be produced, but we would listen more closely to the details about where Patterson has lived since then and whether there is more troubling behavior in his past.

Earlier this week, Patterson emerged from the fog of memory lapse he suffered from during an interview with Dan Popkey of the Statesman (Oct. 31). Some frayed memory wires allowed him to craft a press release (Nov. 10) that said, “I had absolutely no sexual contact with this person whatsoever,” referring to the 1974 rape charge. He made this statement even though it contradicts what police say he told them on the day of his arrest, including Patterson’s graphic language about having sex that we won’t repeat here.

The memory-lapse-youthful-indiscretion story Patterson spins in his I-am-the-victim press release about the permit revocation, rape charges and conspiracies swirling about him will not get him out of public opinion jail. If he desires release, he must go before his constituents in an open forum and answer their questions about what went on in his life during and since 1974 — where he has lived, attended school and worked, and whether there have been any other run-ins with the law.

We deserve to know this because he has been awarded the sacred trust as a member of the Idaho Legislature.

We also are interested in the legalities involved in how the details of his gun permit revocation became public. But that is a separate issue and should provide no cover. Patterson must come clean about his past. If he can’t be truthful and forthright about that, what else matters?

We hope the House Ethics Committee moves to investigate Patterson. He still has his concealed weapon even after the revocation of his permit — a perk of being elected an Idaho lawmaker. If he chooses, he can continue to conceal his past.

But his sentence in public opinion jail will never end.

“Our View” is the editorial position of the Idaho Statesman. It is an unsigned opinion expressing the consensus of the Statesman’s editorial board. To comment on an editorial or suggest a topic, email editorial@idahostatesman.com.

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