Community reacts to Tidings editor's arrest

Community reacts to Tidings editor's arrest

Ashland Daily Tidings Editor Andrew Scot Bolsinger is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Tuesday in Marion County Circuit Court in Salem following his arrest for first-degree rape and sodomy on Friday, in addition to other related sex charges.

Bolsinger, 41, of Phoenix, remains lodged in the Marion County jail without bail. No attorney had been named to defend him by late Saturday afternoon.

In unrelated matters, Bolsinger also faces a host of other legal problems related to debts and failed business deals in Ashland.

Friday's arrest stems from a former Willamette Valley Christian School student who told Marion County sheriff's detectives that Bolsinger raped her when she was a 16-year-old student at the school in the spring of 2000. At the time, Bolsinger was a coach and teacher at the school, according to Marion County sheriff's Cmdr. Jason Myers.

The school is in Brooks, a community near Salem. Bolsinger has not been employed at the school since May of 2000, police said.

The news of Bolsinger's arrest shocked the community.

"I'm surprised and upset," said Jeff Golden, a longtime community activist and former talk show host on Jefferson Public Radio broadcast at Southern Oregon University. JPR is the local National Public Radio affiliate.

"But it doesn't make much sense to talk about it until we get clear on what happened," he added of Bolsinger's arrest.

Others were reluctant to comment on the record. Most were quick to note that Bolsinger has yet to have his day in court.

"The city has always had close ties to the Tidings," said Ashland Mayor John Morrison. "When all of this is over, we look forward to working with whoever is the editor of the Tidings."

In addition to first-degree rape, Bolsinger also is charged with first-degree sodomy, five counts of second-degree sexual abuse and one count of first-degree custodial interference.

First-degree rape is a Measure 11 crime that carries a minimum prison sentence of 8 years and 4 months upon conviction. First-degree sodomy carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 6 years and 3 months.

Bolsinger has had other legal issues in the past year. He has been named the defendant in a number of lawsuits involving several local businesses of which he was an owner or part owner.

Bolsinger and his wife, Lori, were sued by the city of Ashland in February 2007 for failure to pay food and beverage taxes collected by his Ashland Plaza restaurant, Pipon's, for a period of several months in 2006. The court ruled in favor of the city in April and awarded the city $10,397.

In November 2007, a Bolsinger-owned commercial printing business, The Main Source, was evicted by court order from its location at 21 Winburn Way for failure to make lease payments.

Prior to that, in June 2007, Bolsinger was ordered by the court to repay a $25,000 refundable deposit made by Kevin Huggins as part of a terminated sublease agreement for the 21 Winburn Way property.

In addition, there were several court orders finding Bolsinger in default and requiring him to repay loans made to him in connection with his businesses.

Bolsinger was also a part owner of the Jefferson State Pub, a popular bar and music venue on Water Street that closed its doors in late 2007.

People who had business dealings with Bolsinger voiced varied opinions on his financial troubles. Fred Stockwell, an Ashland photographer, said he had invested $50,000 in the Jefferson State Pub and later sold his share to Bolsinger, but had not been paid.

"A lot of people are very upset in this town," Stockwell said. "They're owed money (and some were) not paid wages."

But Huggins, who owns Hair City, a styling salon in Ashland, said he bore "no ill will toward him" over the financial issue.

"Scot always helped people in need, like employees," Huggins said. "... All in all, the guy has a good heart, but overdid it and thought he was going to hit the jackpot."

The Mail Tribune and the Daily Tidings are both owned by Ottaway Newspapers Inc. Mail Tribune Editor Bob Hunter, who worked with Bolsinger on administrative issues relating to the Tidings, said Bolsinger has been suspended from his position as editor until the case is resolved. No interim editor has been named to the Tidings.

Bolsinger took over as editor of the Ashland Daily Tidings in July 2003 after spending three years working for a newspaper in Virginia.

Before moving to Virginia, Bolsinger was sports editor at the Stayton Mail weekly newspaper near Salem.

Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 776-4496 or at

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