GOP may call for embattled Idaho legislator to quit
BOISE — A state senator Tuesday called for Republican leaders from Boise to seek the resignation of state Rep. Mark Patterson after his failure to disclose his guilty plea in a 1974 rape case led to revocation of his concealed weapons permit.
Sen. Fred Martin, R-Boise and one of District 15’s precinct committee members, said he expects officials from the southwest Boise district will assemble next Tuesday to discuss Patterson’s future in the Legislature, less than a month before the 2014 session begins.
However, another official in District 15, which Patterson represents, said the situation is “fluid” and no meeting has been finalized.
Patterson has been the focus of attention since the Idaho Statesman in November reported he failed to disclose the 39-year-old guilty plea in a Florida rape case when he applied for a permit to carry a concealed weapon, first in 2007 and again in 2012. Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney revoked Patterson’s permit in late October. Raney has said Patterson’s record makes him ineligible for a concealed weapons permit in Idaho.
In an interview Tuesday, Martin said he remains hopeful Patterson would resign voluntarily. If he doesn’t, however, Martin said a resolution has been drafted that demands the first-term Republican lawmaker quit.
“This behavior is not acceptable,” Martin said. “I feel confident that Legislative District 15’s precinct committee people will do what is right for Idaho, the Republican party, and especially voters of District 15. I also hope that Rep. Patterson does what’s right for himself and his family.”
In addition to not disclosing the plea on his concealed weapons permit application, Martin said Patterson’s reaction to the situation has been aggressive.
Consequently, Martin said, he was asked to organize security for Tuesday’s tentative meeting, because some District 15 officials had safety concerns.
Patterson couldn’t be reached Tuesday. Wade Woodard, Patterson’s lawyer, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Dan Luker, District 15’s secretary, said its executive committee has met and agreed that the entire 15-person precinct committee should gather to discuss Patterson’s future.
Still, Luker said no such meeting has been finalized.
“We’d have to have an agenda and a location, and I can say, as of this moment, not all of those pieces are in place to allow such a notice to go out,” Luker said Tuesday afternoon. “That may change in the future, but as of this moment, that’s the case. I don’t know if we’ll have a quorum, or whether the meeting will happen or not.”
In May 1974, a then-21-year-old Patterson was charged with rape in Tampa. A 46-year-old woman told police Patterson forced her to have sex twice and threatened to have his Doberman pinscher attack her if she refused, according to police reports.
Patterson served time in jail before agreeing that July to plead guilty to the lesser charge of assault with intent to commit rape, receiving a withheld judgment and five years’ probation.
Patterson was ordered to leave Florida. Two years later, he was released from probation, records show.
Now, however, he says he was innocent but pleaded guilty 39 years ago on the advice of his attorney, expecting the crime would eventually be expunged from his record.
“I was a young kid,” Patterson has told the Statesman. “I was charged with a crime I didn’t do. My attorney told me to take the deal.”
House Speaker Scott Bedke didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment on the situation.
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