ASPSU presidential candidate Tony Funchess responds to flier allegations

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Presidential candidate Tony Funchess at a recent ASPSU Town Hall meeting. Silvia Cardullo/PSU Vanguard

Earlier today, the Vanguard reported that fliers featuring the mug shot and criminal convictions of ASPSU presidential candidate Tony Funchess were circulating around campus. The fliers were posted anonymously in resource centers and slipped under the security doors of various student media organizations.

The flier says that Funchess was convicted of second degree rape and third degree sodomy. Records obtained by the Vanguard indicate that Funchess was convicted of one count each of Attempted Rape II and Sodomy III.

The second degree attempted rape charge is in relation to a 2000 incident that occurred with someone who was at the time under the age of 14 and Funchess was 23. Funchess said the two are still in contact.

The third degree sodomy charge is related to a 2005 incident with a different individual who was under the age of 16 while Funchess was 28.

Funchess called a meeting with his slate, Step Up, Speak Out, Stand Together, in order to discuss the flier. Vanguard news editors were present for the meeting.

“I have no problem standing for what I believe in,” Funchess said. “I have no problem standing alone in this, but I want you all to have the choice to either stand with me or not, because this is just the beginning. And I have to live with this. I’ve been living with it and have figured out ways to navigate it and deal with it, but I’m not putting that added burden on any of you all. That is totally your choice whether or not you are going to continue.”

At the meeting, Kaitlyn Verret, the vice presidential candidate of SUSOST, said, “[Funchess] doesn’t stand alone on this issue. We stand with him.”

Vanguard news editors asked Funchess to respond to the circulation of the flier.

Vanguard: Can you explain some of the charges?

Funchess: It’s not [a Rape II charge], it’s attempted rape, because I would not agree to rape [as a criminal charge] when it comes to the woman I love and the children I have with this person…We were building a life, and then her mom went to the grand jury, and it blew both of our minds. When I was sitting in court and they tried to get me to take the [Rape II] charge, I fought them tooth and nail. And it came down to attempted [rape] because I’m not going to say I did something, and I’m not going to identify somebody as something they’re not.

VG: So is that how these convictions came about?

Funchess: Uh huh. Yes. Seven years after the fact.

VG: By the law’s standard, these women are victims. Do you see them as victims?

Funchess: The law has identified them as victims.

VG: Do you agree with that?

Funchess: I do. I do agree, to a degree. They are victims based off the definition that is set forward here. They are victims based off the fact that I have violated the state law.

VG: Why didn’t you disclose this information to the public?

Funchess: I talk about it so often. I talk about it on YouTube. I’ve talked about it on Facebook. I’ve had these conversations on campus before…I believe there’s a public right to know—absolutely. Do I believe I have the obligation to go to every single person and say, “Hey, this is who I am, this is what I did” over and over for 30,000 folks? Hell no. It’s unrealistic.

VG: Is President [Wim] Wiewel aware of your history?

Funchess: I would definitely think so. I don’t hide it.

VG: One of the things you said is that you hope people see this for what it is. So what is it?

Funchess: I want folks to see the placement of such a derogatory flier…as a smear tactic to derail the work that this slate is trying to accomplish, because it serves no other purpose. Folks want to have a conversation, that’s not how you have it.

VG: Do you think, in light of the fliers being posted, you’ll still be able to be an effective leader if you are elected?

Funchess: I believe so, because the leadership isn’t solely about me. It’s about a dynamic team of folks who bring their diverse perspectives. We all collaborate and work together to accomplish the multitude of changes that we have to accomplish here.

VG: Do you see your conviction getting in the way of any of your duties?

Funchess: It doesn’t impact the work. I’m really intentional about the things I become a part of so that I don’t cause harm in those spaces…We treat prison as a wasteland, and folks come home and we treat them as if they are nothing and have no value—I found that not to be true.

And so I live my life in a capacity to demonstrate the opposite of that. I have received so many “no’s” because of my felony conviction. But every time I received no…I try to demonstrate, one, what recidivism looks like, and, two, what positive change looks like.

VG: As a result of these convictions, are you required to register as a sex offender?

Funchess: For life.

VG: Is that public?

Funchess: They only publish predatory folks, and I’m not predatory.

VG: Are you on some kind of registry here at PSU that people can access?

Funchess: No, because that would be inappropriate for me or for anyone…When folks come out of [prison], when the system has said that they have served the time, we really need to move to a place to accepting that people have served their time. We have put in place probation, post-prison supervision, so that we can observe them as they transition back into becoming full citizens. I did that. I have completed that. At some point in time, there has to be some real freedom.

We cannot find freedom if we’re constantly labeling folks and [being] divided…I don’t think we need to constantly be harping on folks who have been through the system and who have paid their dues to society…It’s a set up to exclude folks that have something very great and potential to offer.

This is part of ongoing coverage. Visit psuvanguard.com for updates.

ARTICLE UPDATED 4/17 AT 1:55pm.

39 COMMENTS

  1. The questions I have is this: what was a 23 year old man doing having sexual relations with someone under 14? It’s immaterial that they are married now. Who brought the charges 7 years later? These are pertinent details, given that Mr Funchess will be working across the hall from a daycare center and that he will be working closely with the university, whose leadership is open and blunt about protecting the PSU ‘brand’ from controversy.

    • as the multicultural affairs director, he’s already right down the hall from the students with children resource center. there haven’t been any incidents so far. why would you expect any in the future?

      • Why aren’t more people treating this the way it would be treated in the real world? PSU seems to exist in an alternative reality where serious criminal histories aren’t taken with the gravity they should be.

        • haha so if someone doesn’t agree with you, they aren’t treating this like the ‘real world,’ whatever that means? he’s served his time, are you saying that no one should ever let him have a job ever again?

          • They should never have a job that puts them near minors. Clearly, he has trouble understanding what a consenting adult looks like.

  2. I was wondering how Anthony knew the victim’s age, but then I looked up the statute:

    ORS 163.365 Rape in the second degree.
    [Known as Rape II or Rape 2] (1) A person who has sexual intercourse with another person commits the crime of rape in the second degree if the other person is under 14 years of age.
    (2) Rape in the second degree is a Class B felony.

    While consensual sex with an underage person is rape, it’s not considered a predatory or violent sex crime the way Rape I is. The sex offender registry system is designed to warn the public about the whereabouts of convicted sex offenders who are “Level 3,” considered at high risk of reoffending.

    Should he have had a sexual relationship with a young teen? No, not even if they were in love. It’s called jailbait for a reason. Does it matter now? I’m not convinced that it does.

    • I only knew that from reading the article that got posted last night. I don’t know it’s still in there or not.

      His answers seemed evasive to me, which may be understandable. What is interesting is the near total-lack of hard questions from the Vanguard, or the lack of asking his opponents questions. A good question to ask is “Why would you run for public office with this in your background knowing that it would come out?”

    • You’re forgetting the Sodomy III charge which Oregon statute defines as involving a minor under the age of 16. This occurred in 2005. He was 28 at this time. And he was 23 in the 2000 incident with someone below the age of 14??? Like this is clearly a history of predatory sexual behavior in which this grown ass man on two separate occurrences with two separate victims sexually violated minors. That makes him a child molester.

      Rapists gain positions of power so they can rape. So many victims do not come forward because their rapist is respected in the community, has social capital and a position of authority. Putting Tony Funchess into a position of power, respect, legitimacy, authority and capital is dangerous.

  3. A few thoughts from an Alumnus:
    1. The brand is important because so much student money was spent on it.
    2. Its PSU, there will always be some kind of controversy. Learn something from it, or don’t bother going to college.
    3. Fuchness did well navigating the questions regarding this issue. I can’t say I support what he did to earn the convictions, but he’s clearly learned from it. That’s what should be important to everyone who is attending an institution of *higher learning*.
    4. Anthony, don’t be histrionic. Just because he has a Rape II conviction does not mean he will hunt down the little babies in the ASPSU childcare center. He himself admitted he is not on the registry because *he is not predatory*.

      • There’s nothing he said in the interview that isn’t verifiable (except of course, his personal feelings). His charges are all public record. I’m sure if there is a big enough stink about it, he’d be glad to provide the documentation.
        As for being on the registry, that’s easy enough to look up. Its online. He’s either on it or not.

  4. this is getting way blown out of proportion. the people acting like this is a huge deal are obviously just racists. big scary black man committing a couple crimes a whole decade ago, get real.

    tony funchess is a great guy and your probably a white supremacist if you think otherwise

    • lol that’s by far the stupidest thing i’ve heard thus far “not supporting a convicted pedo means you;re a white supremacist” if these are the type of “supporters” he brings then he most definitely doesn’t need to a candidate.

    • Both of his victims were Black girls. If you pretend to give a shit about people of color then you can’t let a rapist who TARGETS Black girls be free of accountability. Either you care about white supremacy or you don’t lol

    • A fourteen year old isn’t capable of meaningful consent. While it may be understandable if this interaction occurred while both people were of a similar age, Funchess was in his twenties. This makes him the definition of a sexual predator.

    • hahahahaha…nope. You’re 1000% wrong there.

      I am super confident in saying that.

      Won’t even look back to see anyone’s comments because I don’t care.

  5. Tony Funchess is a rapist. He had sexual intercourse with someone under 14 when he was in his 20s. This is RAPE. It is irrelevant that he married and had children with her, I don’t care how you spin it, a relationship between someone who is 12 and 20 is unacceptable.

    Even if you buy this, “oh I love her” bullshit, you have to recognize that he did this AGAIN with another girl who was under 16 when he was in his 30s. There is no remorse, he doesn’t even consider these young girls victims, only by the letter of the law.

    He is a REPEAT sexual offender, and I under no circumstances think that it is okay to put rapists in positions of power. I think that PSU and the communities that Funchess is a member of need to stop enabling and supporting him

  6. ASPSU just threw out Tony’s opponents. The predator is going to be our next student body president unless the courts intervene. It’s outrageous and points to how absolutely corrupt ASPSU has become.

    • Anthony, ASPSU did not throw out his opponents. One of the other people running was found to be ineligible to serve in office because they were removed in the Fall for attendance issues, and are prevented from serving in office by the ASPSU constitution. The candidate pool this year was really poor all around. Perhaps if students would participate directly in student government instead of whining on the internet, we would not be in this situation.

      • Ah because it’s the student’s fault that an organization most of us doesn’t know exists, that’s powerless to do anything on campus since the creation of the institutional boards and spends any other time they have being a hellhole for privileged white dudes to build their resumes and reenact Game of Thrones on their coworkers. Oh and I forgot alienating all people of color and lgbt folks from the organization, and rape survivors now too.

        The elections for the last three years starting with Harris Foster have been illegitimate due to lack of choices (people winning by default) or a scandal that puts someone into power that the students didn’t overwhelmingly voted for (see: Eric and Rayleen and now with Tony). If you’re part of ASPSU maybe you should be asking yourself why students aren’t getting involved in the face of three years of illegitimate elections instead of being a mouthbreather but that’s none of my business ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

        • Its amazing how it always ends up being the straight white male’s fault. Even when that has nothing to do with the conversation.

          • This is the least interesting comment I’ve ever read on the Vanguard, and I read Vanguard.

      • Actually, I retract that he was removed…for now. Khalid has a hearing Monday. If they toss him then ASPSU is going to be crowning a sexual predator as president. At this point ASPSU becomes like a powerless little banana republic.

  7. As someone who is going to be a student next year, this is hardly making me look forward to it. This is disgusting, plain and simple. The girl was 14. Guess what all the 14 year olds I know are like? Children. Because they are children. This man is disgusting and I dearly hope he is not the student body president for my future school.

  8. So let me get this straight: his opponent was disqualified from running due to attendance issues but this guy who is a twice convicted rapist of African-American children is fine……….?

    • Monday morning the EBoard will decide whether or not he (Khalid, his opponent) can serve if elected.

      Funchess only has 1 opponent, a guy named Khalid and his running mate Linda. Go vote at elections.aspsu.pdx.edu.

  9. When will PSU student turn off the CRAP (Corporate Run Artistry and Propaganda) TV “news” and starting reading and updating their mental maps on the assault against our Bill of Rights? The Sex Offender Registration (SOR) laws are an abominable assault on the concept of criminal justice in that they make a mockery of rehabilitation and reintegration. Former criminals (should never use that term whenever possible) have paid their debt to society and should be able to resume their lives as reformed and law-abiding citizens that they are sure to be. It’s time to stop the persecution of Registered Citizens such as the PSU student mentioned here.

    • Remember this was NOT a 14 year old. The law states his victim was UNDER 14. So at oldest she was 13. Seeing as they were married 7 years later when he was convicted, she could have been as young as 11.

      A 13 year old (let alone 11) can not make that sort of decision with a 23 year old man. It is extremely easy to manipulate girls that young for a full grown man.
      Also, what sort of sick person is attracted to girls that young?

      Then, 5 years later he has sex with a girl who is 15 or younger. When he was 28. Anyone who works with sexual predators would tell you that this is predatory behavior. He wants young girls that he can manipulate and wont report him.

      • What this also shows is that he was *caught* 2 times. Important key word. Seeing as pedophilia and rape are reported less than 30% of the time, and convicted 2% of the time, it’s not unlikely that he’s raped other little girls.

        Is it possible he’s changed his morals and wont do it again? Seeing how he says he doesn’t believe he did anything wrong in all his interviews (outside of not obeying the law), obviously not. He always says “I should obey the law” but not “It was morally wrong to rape a 13 year old”.

        People like that should never, ever be in positions of power.

    • I’m sorry, are we really expected to put our children in danger because a rapist needs to heal and get back into society. Please.

  10. I think it’s terrible what everyone is doing here. As someone who has heard him speak multiple times, I know he is OVERqualified to be ASPSU president. I think it’s shameful that people are going to take his past and hold it against him. First of all it has nothing to do with his ability to be a great leader, which he is. Secondly, no one here knows ALL of the details to his past convictions so jumping to conclusions is prejudice, maybe not necessarily racial prejudice, but you’re making very harsh assumptions about someone you don’t know. As a candidate for president, maybe you should focus on how he is going to fit the position instead of using ad hominem to not only steer away from what the conversation should be, but also attempt to publicly humiliate someone. That is just so shameful.

  11. You are all acting like he’s running for mayor or president. He’s running for an organization on campus. Get real now. Besides, politicians have secrets exposed all the time. So now what? This is the real world. Move on.

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