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CLINTON UNDER FIRE

Ex-Intern Allegedly Boasted of Sex

Controversy: Teacher who says he had 5-year affair with Lewinsky says she told of liaisons with unnamed 'high-ranking' White House official.

January 28, 1998|KIM MURPHY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

PORTLAND, Ore. — A high school drama teacher who said he had a five-year affair with Monica S. Lewinsky said Tuesday that the former White House intern boasted of having oral sex with a "high-ranking person in the White House" and phoned him up to five times a day with news of her adventures.

Andy Bleiler, who presented the details of his years with Lewinsky through his attorney, said there was no indication of who Lewinsky was referring to, although his wife said that when Lewinsky first left for Washington, she vowed "to get my presidential kneepads."

"She never used President Clinton's name at any time. She did use the term 'creep' to describe this person," said Terry Giles, a Rancho Santa Fe attorney who recounted the Bleilers' story at a press conference in the couple's front yard.

Giles said Lewinsky never claimed to have anything but oral sex with the White House official.

Giles said his meetings with the Bleilers had made him "a lot less certain" that Lewinsky is telling the truth about her encounters with the president.

"Kathy and Andy would both describe Monica during the time they knew her as having a pattern of twisting facts, especially to enhance her own version of her own self-image," he said.

Lewinsky's lawyer, longtime family friend William H. Ginsburg, did not dispute Bleiler's depiction of the affair. But Ginsburg criticized him for making the comments publicly.

"As to the statements of Mr. Bleiler and his attorney, timed 10 minutes before the [president's] State of the Union address, I can only say that this man is a teacher who had sex with a teenager," Ginsburg said in an interview. "This places us at a new low. . . . It's silly.

"As the titular uncle of this young lady, I am neither surprised nor appalled that she had relations with men," Ginsburg said, adding later: "I certainly don't approve of an affair with a married man, but I'm sure all parents can understand and would agree that between 18 and 24, children begin to have social experiences, including sexual encounters. I'm not denying that she had a relationship with this man. Yes, she did. But so what?"

The Bleilers are scheduled to tell their story today before a representative of independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr, who is investigating Lewinsky's claims, in secretly recorded conversations with a friend, that she had a sexual relationship with Clinton. In those tapes, she also reportedly made reference to "the creep."

Giles said the Bleilers also will turn over a series of documents that Lewinsky sent them from the White House that may or may not be relevant to Starr's investigation.

Although the documents do not contain any photographs of Clinton and Lewinsky, they were judged important enough by the Bleilers that the couple kept them locked in a safe deposit box, Giles said.

"There are a series of papers and photographs that were sent to them that they kept," Giles said. "Do they have any significance? Maybe, maybe not. We're a small piece of the puzzle."

The allegations are among the most startling turns in a story that has gripped the nation for a week.

Although they could prove significant in shedding light on Lewinsky's story, which Clinton has forcefully denied, they also may be a window to her past, drawing a picture of a young girl the Bleilers said was "obsessed" with sex and who terrorized Bleiler by threatening to reveal their affair.

Giles said the affair began in 1992, a year after Lewinsky graduated from high school. Bleiler was then a drama teacher at Beverly Hills High, which Lewinsky attended until the middle of her junior year. Bleiler, Giles said, wanted to end the liaison a year later, but was unable to do so until 1997 because Lewinsky had insinuated herself into their family and threatened to tell his wife.

Lewinsky moved to Portland to enter Lewis and Clark College in 1993, and the Bleilers moved there a year later.

Throughout the press conference, Bleiler, 32, and his wife, 40, clutched hands and blinked into the television lights.

Bleiler said his reaction to the unfolding scandal in Washington was "at first surprise . . . and then a realization that we were involved in this in some very unclear but not insignificant way."

"I just know what I know. I couldn't in good conscience just sit on this stuff and not tell the authorities what I know," he said.

Giles said Lewinsky told the Bleilers before she left for her internship and before she had met anyone in the White House, "I'm going to the White House to get my presidential kneepads."

After she started her new job, she communicated with the Bleilers regularly, sometimes with as many as four or five telephone calls a day, Giles said.

"Because of Andy's closeness with Monica, and because in addition to that Kathy had been befriended by Monica, she shared a lot of information with them concerning events in Washington, D.C.," the lawyer said.

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