An Idaho legislator may lose his permit to carry a concealed weapon because a sheriff says the Republican’s application failed to disclose a 1974 guilty plea tied to a Florida rape case.
The Idaho Statesman reported Sunday that Rep. Mark Patterson of Boise, now 61, was charged with rape in 1974. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of assault with intent to commit rape.
Patterson contends now he was innocent but pleaded guilty 39 years ago on his attorney’s advice. He received a concealed weapons permit in Ada County in 2007 and renewed it in 2012.
Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney, who says he was tipped off to Patterson’s Florida record earlier this year by a person he hasn’t named, says he revoked the permit last month because the first-term lawmaker didn’t disclose the withheld judgment in the case. That would have disqualified him from legally carrying a concealed weapon.
A withheld judgment is often used in plea agreements, where a judge doesn’t enter a conviction but places a defendant on probation. It allows a person to keep a crime off his or her legal record in some instances.
“We did our due diligence, and from that, a hearing was ultimately held and his concealed weapons permit was revoked,” Raney said.
Patterson says he’s mulling an appeal.
Patterson was 21 when he was charged with rape in May 1974 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.
“I was a young kid,” the freshman Republican told the Statesman. “I was charged with a crime I didn’t do. My attorney told me to take the deal.”
Raney insists Patterson’s record makes him ineligible for a concealed weapons permit in Idaho.
The application asks prospective licensees, “Have you ever had an entry of a withheld judgment for a criminal offense which would disqualify you from obtaining a concealed weapons license?”
The Ada County Sheriff’s Office held a revocation hearing in August. On Oct. 29, Raney told Patterson the license would be revoked.
Patterson has 14 days to file an administrative appeal.
Patterson went to court at least one other time in a rape-related case. In July 1977, Patterson was charged in a separate incident, this time with rape “by means of forcibly choking and threatening” a woman in Cincinnati, records show.
A judge acquitted Patterson in September 1977. “I was acquitted — then obviously I didn’t do it,” Patterson said.
Patterson and Raney have also been on opposite sides of public policy issues.
In the 2013 Legislature, Patterson authored an unsuccessful bill that would have made it a misdemeanor for Idaho law enforcement officials to help enforce any new federal restrictions on firearms. Raney opposed the bill, and Patterson believes he’s being targeted now because his legislation angered law enforcement officers.
“This whole thing is to silence me,” Patterson said.
Raney insists that’s untrue.
“The questions that Mr. Patterson raises and the allegations he makes are irrelevant to the fact that he lied on his initial application and his renewal application,” Raney said.