On November 4, 2005, the Oregonian published a story about Pastor Matt Hennessee and a female relative who he sexually abused ""several times per week" from age 12 or 13 to 16."
"Documents obtained by the newspaper include e-mails Hennessee sent to the woman in 2003 admitting sexual abuse, a police report on the investigation and an attorney case file that documents a settlement in which Hennessee paid for the girl's counseling."
One has to wonder why the Oregonian didn't publish the emails (with anything that could identify the victim redacted of course) or even provide one direct quote from them. And no quotes from the police report or attorney case file.
15 years later, Pastor Matt is doing just fine. In fact, the city is using him to spread covid hysteria with a video of him walking through a fancy decontaminating device for his church and discussing how he follows all the covid19 rules and takes it very seriously and we must "keep on going" for the children...
The city cops also work with Hennessee, with the pastor "hosting quarterly roundtable discussions to bring together police and the community." Independent journalists on the other hand, are less hospitable to the pastor, as seen in this video where the Pastor says that in his 20s he "made mistakes" due to his being abused when he was in foster care. Not a good sign that, even when confessing, he doesn't really take responsibility, essentially blaming someone who abused him for the abuse that he carried out weekly for years.
Here's another interesting video, where Hennessee speaks on "Inappropriate Behavior & Healing" with no explicit mention of his sex scandal. He does speak clearly of himself as being a victim however during his long dance around his past scandal, talking about it without talking about it. I must admit that he can be rather convincing. If he didn't become a pastor around the time of his scandal, hadn't abused his relative for so long when he was a full grown adult in his mid to late 20s, and didn't seem to have the local media in his pocket, I might believe that he was an honest and reformed man.
One might ask how do you stay rich and powerful after being caught being an incestuous pedophile when you aren't a billionaire like Epstein? According to Willamette Week: "Although there is no evidence anybody blackmailed Hennessee, as chairman he wielded tremendous influence over the redevelopment agency's $254 million annual budget and was obviously vulnerable." Another reason to be cynical about his reformation. Having dirt on important people from his time wielding a lot of influence over a lot of money, and possibly being involved in political corruption would be a good explanation as to how he has fared so well. Whatever the reason, he certainly escaped the scandal amazingly unscathed. Only in Portland, the city that proudly named a street after pederast Harvey Milk.
I have contacted Nigel Jaquiss, Anna Griffin, S Renee Mitchell, and Scott Learn - all who initially covered the sexual abuse story for local media. So far, no response. (Update: Anna Griffin contacted me back on 12/21/20.)
I also have emailed Therese Bottomly and Laura Gunderson from The Oregonian as well, and got a response from one of them saying that the stories are on https://www.oregonlive.com/archives/ where you have to pay $2-$3 per story to view them - "unless you have a Multnomah County Library Card."
Here's a related email exchange with an Oregonian administrator:
"Just did a quick search of another old story to see if I could find it on google, and sure enough:
From 2004. Maybe you should “update” the Hennessee stories so people can learn about him, given that he is still in power for some reason. Kind of disturbing that Oregonian is effectively hiding this man’s history of being a sex predator while he is still a “community leader” in our city. Kind of the exact opposite of what journalists should be doing, no?"
Searching Oregonian's archives shows that since 2005, there have been 7 articles that mentioned the terms "Hennessee" and "abuse" - only 5 of which can be determined (via the archive summaries) to mention the scandal. The last date for any of the 7 stories is October 30, 2006 - a little over a year after the scandal came to light.
That last story is by Angie Chuang who briefly mentions "the sex-abuse claims that came to light last fall" regarding Pastor Hennessee. A better way of putting it would have been something like "the emails showing Hennessee confessing to abusing a 13 year old relative came to light" but instead she chose "claims."
February 2007, Angie is back reporting on Matt, and takes the downplaying to the next level - not mentioning the scandal at all. And on top of that, she uses him as a source for a survey regarding "Has Portland learned the lessons of black history?" What a person to be writing about history - Angie Chuang who, in less than 4 months, forgets the incredible story of a community leader with a history involving sleeping with a 12 or 13 year old relative several times per week until she was 16.
Since October 30th 2006, there has apparently been zero mention of the scandal by Oregon's biggest newspaper, despite the fact that Hennessee continues to be a major public figure, even posing with the Mayor of Portland Ted Wheeler (endorsed by Sam Adams, who had a sex scandal involving an underage intern), Governor Brown, and Nick Fish - former aide to Barney Frank (who was charged with running a prostitute ring out of his home) and friend of Terry Bean (who is under investigation for having sex with a 15 year old boy.) Yes, Portland is a hedonistic hellscape.
"Your search of "pastor hennessee AND date(01/01/2006 to 01/01/2020)" found 18 listings." Not only does the Oregonian seem to make no mention of the scandal for 15 years, but they use him as a source at least 17 times since October 2006 and seem to have not mentioned the sexual abuse once in those 17 times.
1 results for Hennessee + Abuse on their non-archived website, but no mention of the scandal in that result.
Interestingly, Pastor Matt started his church career and Agape Resources Group in January 2005 - not long before the scandal broke. The email confessions were in 2003. Perhaps he knew he might need to be painting himself as a very moral person soon? Perhaps someone tipped him off that the story was going to be reported on soon.
There's no record of Agape Resources Group existing on Oregon's business look-up site, unless it is this company, which formed around the right time, but dissolved in 2006. His LinkedIn profile says the group is still active.
According to his church's website "Education, youth and young adult development & growth, community involvement, and social justice have been a great emphasis of Pastor Hennessee...(he) has not ever met any youth or young adult that he did not “adopt” as his own."
Hennessee says his church "cannot sustain itself in the long run by depending only on tithes and offerings. He has worked with the church to develop streams of rental income and has plans to create other streams of income." Turning the church into a business...what a surprise. Especially considering he drives a nice new Lexus. Perhaps he will start selling tickets to attend his church like a megachurch pastor.
Neil Goldschmidt didn't go to prison. Sam Adams didn't get put under oath and is still a public figure. Serial sex predator Micah Rhodes had over $4000 crowdfunded for him when he got out of prison. Harvey Milk gets a street named after him. And Pastor Matt is a highly respected community leader after sleeping with a 12-13 year old relative "several times per week" for years. There's a reason that PDX's nickname is PeDoX.