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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 December 2005, 08:42 GMT
US mayor ousted over sex scandal
Recalled Spokane Mayor James West
James West regrets his actions but denies doing anything illegal
A mayor in the US state of Washington has been ousted after allegations that he wooed gay men over the internet by offering them city jobs.

Conservative Mayor James West was recalled from his post in Spokane, the state's second-largest city, by voters in a special election.

He will have to leave office once the vote is certified in 10 days time.

The 54-year-old former Boy Scout leader - who has not been charged with any crime - said he regretted his actions.

"I have no regrets as far as being mayor the last two years. I have regrets in my personal life," he told a news conference.

"I wish those things never occurred. I am embarrassed by them."

Newspaper sting

Spokane's daily newspaper, the Spokesman-Review, reported in May that Mr West had spent a great deal of time on gay websites using his city-owned computer.

It quoted three young men who said they had been offered jobs by him during conversations in internet chat rooms.

The newspaper hired a computer consultant to pose as an 18-year-old school boy. He reportedly discussed with Mr West a position on a city board and meeting up for sex.

Mr West, who had been mayor for two years, admitted he had led a double life but denied he had done anything illegal.

He adamantly denied offering anything in exchange for sex, and insisted he had "never done anything to harm our city".

The position of mayor is set to be temporarily filled by the city council president until a replacement is found.




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