President of Oklahoma LGBT center arrested on charges he had sex with a minor

As we mentioned earlier, Nathan Bowen, president of the LGBT center in Enid, Okla., has been arrested on charges of “lewd molestation of minor” following allegations that he exchanged sexually explicit texts and later engaged in oral sex with a 15-year-old he met at the center, according to reports by News 9 in Oklahoma City.

Nathan Bowen

But Brittany Novotny, Bowen’s attorney, said in a written statement that the 15-year-old attempted to instigate a sexual encounter with Bowen and when Bowen refused, the teen lied about the incident to his mother and police to get back at Bowen for turning him down.

According to police reports, the teenager said he and Bowen began sending each other sexually explicit text messages on Friday, Feb. 18, after meeting at the LGBT center. Bowen then picked the teen up at a park on Sunday, Feb. 20, and took him to a home in the area where Bowen performed oral sex on the boy after asking him to take off his clothes. When Bowen asked the teen to perform oral sex on him and return with him to Bowen’s home, the boy refused, reports said.

The teen told police that he then told Bowen he needed to go home and Bowen returned the boy to the park where his mother picked him up. The mother called police after finding the sexually explicit texts on her son’s phone.

But Novotny’s statement offered a very different version of events, saying Bowen and the teenager had met at a Valentine’s Day event at the center on Saturday, Feb. 19, and that the teen had volunteered to help with chores at the center on Sunday. While the two were engaged in the chores, according to Novotny, the teenager — who is physically larger than Bowen — began kissing Bowen and asking him to have sex. When Bowen refused, the boy became angry, telling Bowen, “I always get what I want.”

—  admin

Tel Aviv shooting victim will not be deported after calls from LGBT groups

Nir Katz

Congregation Beth El Binah in Dallas joined other LGBT Jewish groups around the United States Wednesday, Feb. 9, in calling on Israel to allow Thomas Schmidt to stay in that country. They held a phone conference organized by Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in New York on Feb. 8.

According to the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv today, Schmidt will be allowed to stay in the country.

Schmidt is from Germany and has lived in Israel since 2004. His partner was Nir Katz who was murdered at the Tel Aviv LGBT Center on Aug. 1, 2009.

Schmidt was one of 11 injured in the attack. Katz’ parents helped Schmidt recuperate and they consider him a part of their family. He has no contact with his own family in Germany.

He was in the process of applying for permanent partnership status when Katz was killed. His residency visa had expired.

After the shooting at the LGBT Center, Congregation Beth El Binah planned a vigil with Youth First Texas and Resource Center Dallas, which was the first of many held around the world over the next few days. A rally in Tel Aviv attracted 100,000 people supporting the victims of the shooting and the LGBT community.

When Schmidt’s visa expired, Israel first denied his request to stay in the country.

Nitzan Horowitz, currently the only openly gay member of the Knesset, called on Israel to allow Schmidt to stay in the country.

Yonatan Gher, director of Jerusalem Open House, that city’s LGBT center, said that in 2009, one person committed a hate crime against the LGBT community but “today the country is committing a hate crime.”

“We call on Israel to allow the victim of the brutal attack to remain in the country,” Diane Litke, president of Congregation Beth El Binah, said yesterday.

Today, Israel changed its position and will allow Schmidt to stay in the country.

Israel recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other countries. Most opposite-sex couples do not get married in the country. Since only Orthodox rabbis are allowed to perform weddings in Israel, and most Israelis are not Orthodox, they marry elsewhere and their marriages are recognized.

—  David Taffet