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Candidate out after 'rape and pillage' post

Kevin Husted, a candidate running for the Medford School Board, said he is withdrawing from the race for Position Four on Monday over backlash from a 2015 Instagram post.

“Leadership includes taking accountability for one’s actions. I take full accountability for this deeply wrong remark and withdraw my candidacy for the Medford School Board in 2019,” Husted said in a statement released through his campaign consultant Reagan Knopp.

The remark that sparked a social media firestorm over the weekend was from an Instagram post Husted created in 2015, in which he is giving the camera the middle finger. The caption reads, “Days like today I wish I was a pirate so I could just rape and pillage sh-- and no one would care.”

Husted included #piratelife and #rapeage as hashtags in the caption.

Backlash was swift once the image surfaced and began to spread. Community members who shared the image, commented or sent emails to the Mail Tribune called Husted’s comments “disturbing” and “troubling” and said he was “unfit to work with children.”

Karen Starchvick, current member of the School Board and Husted’s opponent in the May 21 election, said she thought “an apology is completely appropriate, and I’m glad that eventually came.”

Husted apologized in the statement he gave giving notice of his candidacy withdrawal. He said he wrote the post “after a long difficult day,” and called it “a stupid post that does not reflect my values or my attitudes towards women.

“I want to apologize to each and every person hurt by my comments and especially those who have been victims of assault,” he wrote. “I plan to work diligently to regain the trust of my community.”

Husted will remain on the ballot, as the filing deadline for the May 21 election has passed. Knopp said that Husted decided to no longer campaign after speaking with his family and “members of the community that he’s worked with and that he trusts and respects.”

Husted ran for School Board in 2017 and was one of several candidates who applied for a seat vacated by Michael Campbell in July 2018. The board appointed Tod Hunt to the open seat.

Husted is also resigning from his position as a member of the Medford School District’s budget committee; he chaired the committee in 2018. He left his position on the School Board for Logos Public Charter School Feb. 4. to run for Medford School Board, said Dave Dotterrer, chair of the Logos School Board.

“No one at Logos was aware of these posts when he joined or left our board,” Dotterrer said.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Kaylee Tornay at ktornay@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4497. Follow her on Twitter @ka_tornay.

Kevin Husted is withdrawing from the Medford School Board race after an offensive Instagram post surfaced.
Kevin Husted, a candidate for the Medford School in the May 21 election, will no longer campaign after this 2015 Instagram post sparked wide backlash, his campaign manager confirmed Monday.