With new allegations surfacing that he offered jobs to young men he met in Internet chat rooms, Spokane Mayor Jim West announced yesterday that “he is taking a leave from office to give himself a few weeks to gather his thoughts and prepare a defense against ‘false accusations leveled against me.”
The FBI is now investigating “allegations that Spokane Mayor Jim West abused his office by offering jobs to young men he hoped to entice into sexual relationships.” The Spokane City Attorney is also investigating “West’s internship program and his use of city computers for personal business.”
West has asked that people reserve judgment on him until (as he puts it) “the newspaper is done persecuting me” and after he has had “the fair opportunity to respond to each of the allegations.”
The Mayor is doing the right thing in taking a leave of absence. As I’ve said in a previous post, the charges against him “should be thoroughly investigated.” I’m delighted to see that this is already happening.
The evidence against Mayor West seems far stronger than that against Ray Donovan (albeit on far different charges). A number of young men have come forward relating similar stories of the Mayor’s conduct. The Mayor must be allowed the opportunity to respond to these allegations.
Both the FBI and the City of Spokane are investigating. Each office should proceed with dispatch. For the sake of that city, I hope the Mayor remains on leave until the investigations are complete. If the investigators substantiate the allegations against Jim West, he should resign as Mayor of Spokane.