After years of lying the gay mayor of Portland has admitted to having slept with an 18-year-old intern.

Sam Adams (45) was sworn in as mayor of the US city earlier this month to much fanfare as the only openly gay mayor of a top 30 US city. Now he is embroiled in a scandal that could damage his political career.

Adams had repeatedly denied rumours that he had slept with Beau Breedlove, a teenage intern, in 2005 but finally came clean on Monday in a statement:

“In the past, I have characterised my relationship with Beau Breedlove as purely non-sexual. That is not true. Beau Breedlove and I had a sexual relationship for a few months in the summer of 2005 after he turned 18 years of age.”

Adams said that he lied about the relationship during his campaign for mayor because of claims that Breedlove was 17 at the time of their affair.

“I was afraid that people would believe untrue rumours, being circulated by an undeclared mayoral opponent, that I had broken a law involving sexual relations with a minor. But this is not a good excuse,” said Adams.

He added that while he met Breedlove while the young man was 17, the relationship only became sexual after the intern turned 18. He went on to say that he should have been truthful from the beginning.

“I apologise to Beau [Breedlove] for asking him to lie for me. I apologise to my colleagues for my poor handling of this matter. I apologise to the people of Portland for my dishonesty.”

CNN reports that Adams later told reporters: “I don’t think this fundamentally is an issue about sexual orientation. Other people can debate that but, for me, it’s about an error in judgment…”

Characterising the incident as “inappropriate” but “legal” he added that he is not planning on resigning.

According to reports, Adams is in a relationship with Peter Zuckerman; an award-winning journalist.

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