I-TEAM EXCLUSIVE: Democratic Congressional District 13 candidate accused of molesting child more than four decades ago

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We sit down the the candidate and the woman making the accusation in a months-long investigation

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — One of the Democratic candidates for the Congressional seat being vacated by Representative Mac Thornberry is accused of molesting a child more than four decades ago.

Lisa White claims she was molested by her brother-in-law, Congressional Candidate, Greg Sagan, more than 40 years ago.

Sagan was married to the alleged victim’s sister when the alleged victim says the abuse happened.

Sagan told me in this email prior to our interview:

“I don’t know why Lisa is now reporting so many things that I absolutely did not do and could not have done, but I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and say that these things all may well have happened to her, but not by me.”

Greg Sagan

The alleged victim says she was 10 at the time.

She says she has recounted the alleged abuse in a sworn affidavit in Potter County, which she gave us a copy of.

The affidavit is too graphic for us to show you.

MyHighPlains.com’s request to get a copy of that affidavit from Potter County through the Freedom of Information Act was denied by the Texas Attorney General.

White says Potter County investigators urged her to file an additional police report in San Antonio where she says the abuse happened.

MyHighPlains.com’s Freedom of Information Act request to obtain that report is under review by the Texas Attorney General.

After she filed the report in Potter County, White also sat down and told her story to Jackie Kingston.

“Well, we come to be talking today, because I reached out to you, as you know, uh some while back with a story about something that happened to me in my childhood that resurfaces today because one of the people in the story is locally somewhat known and seeking political office here. He was married to my sister when I was young, and he molested me when I was young. And I really never over the course of my life have shared that story, willingly. I kept it a secret between me and my closest friend for, I think I was 25 when it was ever shared with anyone else,” White said.

White told us that she told her closest childhood friend about some of the specific details she is now reporting, but that lifelong friend recalls only that on one occasion White stated: “Greg put his hand in my pants.”

According to White’s friend, she thought it was weird, but White said nothing else, and the friend did not ask her any questions.

We tried to contact other relatives who were allegedly aware of the specific allegations White is making, but no one, other than her sister, responded.

Her sister claims Sagan admitted the molestation to her and her daughter.

Sagan also agreed to interview with us. He says he doesn’t remember anything about the circumstances surrounding White’s allegations.

“But in this particular case, there are three really good reasons why I have to say, I don’t know. I don’t remember that well, and the first one is it was 42 years ago. And the first time I ever heard anything directly from Lisa about this was last spring. And that’s when she sent me for the first time a shopping list of what she thought, or where she was alleging that I had done and absolutely none of it sounded like, first of all, anything I had ever done before and never anything I’ve done since. So, to me, it was a real shock to see this. Um, beyond that I suffered an emotional breakdown that summer,” Sagan said.

“The third one,” Sagan said, “Was that one of the ways that I dealt with this unfortunate situation with my wife living in her parent’s house for a period of time until I found a job and we bought a house was I drank like a fish, I drank way too much. And I come back from the Philippines in 1973 with hepatitis. So, mixing alcohol with that kind of a liver problem is never a good idea. So I could not metabolize this properly. And the net result was that I lived in pretty much a zoned out, almost zombie-like state. “

Sagan denies that he would have done any of the things White is accusing him of. In our interview, Jackie Kingston asked, “Do you deny that these allegations are true?”

Sagan responded, “Well, to the extent that I remember anything about that time? Yes, of course I’d deny it.”

Sagan says he agreed to interview with us about these allegations from his past because he wants to be transparent with voters.

“Obviously, I’ve thought about this a lot, and my commitment to the people in this district is I’m not gonna lie to you. I will tell you the truth as I know it, and even if it’s something like this, that it might be considered really damaging, and certainly show a flaw in character. I would fess up to that,” Sagan said.

Sagan recalled moving to live close to his wife’s family around the time period White claims he inappropriately touched her. White she says she was 10 when it happened.

“I’m sitting in his lap like this, and he put his right hand — I was wearing a little pink top and some shorts. He slid his hand into the shorts, and they were — it was the 70s, they were big shorts. You know, there was room,” White said, “He slid his hand, his right hand in, and he began to touch me in all, all of these areas. And it was not invasive at first. Again, I want to describe it almost as exploratory, for a reaction more than anything else. And I did not know what was happening. I had no understanding of what this meant. I’d never been touched in this manner.”

White says she is coming forward now because she thinks he is unfit to serve.

White asked for Sagan to resign his candidacy first when he ran against Congressman Thornberry in 2018, then again, during this election cycle.

“The only thing I want is for him to withdraw his candidacy,” White said. “That’s it. I don’t want to see him. I don’t want to talk to him. I don’t want anything. But he’s not, in my opinion, fit for public political service, and I want him to quit.”

In an email, White told us:

“In terms of my telling of the story – yes, I can do that. I would prefer not to go on camera, but this is your field – you are the expert here. Can we end his campaign just by sharing the story? It is an ugly story.”

Lisa White

Facebook messages exchanged between the two, given to us by both White and Sagan, certainly are unusual.

We asked Sagan about those messages.

Jackie Kingston: “You say, ‘You are certainly in a position to destroy that effort. If you want to,’ talking about your run for Congress. And, ‘for what it’s worth, I spent 14 years in counseling,’ as you’ve said in this interview, ‘driven to it in large part because I will never feel anything but deep remorse about it.’ What do you mean by that?”

Greg Sagan: “The accusation. The accusation she made to my wife. And that was later translated into her conversation with me. If that’s what she felt, no matter what it was that caused her to feel that way, I, of course, I feel remorse about that.”

Jackie Kingston: “And you don’t feel like that’s an admission of guilt on your part?”

Greg Sagan: “No, no, no, it’s an apology, and the law would recognize it as such.” 

Sagan says he doesn’t remember details of what he said to White or his wife, but he does recall his then-wife confronting him years before their divorce with vague allegations that he had molested White when she was young.

Lisa White: “He does not admit to the level of detail that I’ve sat down in the report, but he definitely admits, the word he used was ‘defiled,’ that he defiled me when I was in my youth.”

Jackie Kingston: “‘Defiled your innocence.'”

Lisa White: “‘Defiled my innocence.’ Yes, that’s what he says.”

We asked Sagan about that message.

Jackie Kingston: “Another question that I have, and later on in that conversation that you and Lisa have, you say, ‘I don’t blame you one bit for how you feel about me. It was never my intention to intrude on your life again. But your overture to me seemed to rate a response. I took the failure of my character and set out to change myself to become something closer to the man I thought I was. I am. Who I am who I am today,’ excuse me, ‘bears little resemblance to the man who defiled you in your innocence.’ Is that to you an admission of guilt?”

Greg Sagan: “No. Not to me, because again, I’m looking at this from her point of view, and then through her eyes, and through her eyes, I had done these things. And rather than get into a spat 40 years later about, ‘No, I didn’t, yes, you did,’ I decided to just use her point of view as what was generating this. And it was for me, when I first saw this, I thought, ‘Well, this is a #MeToo movement thing,’ you know, somebody is coming out and trying to reclaim her power over something that happened to her 40 years ago. And not only do I not trust my memory from 40 years ago, I’m not really sure I want to trust her memory from 40 years ago. There could be all kinds of embellishment and other stuff going on there that I don’t know anything about. So, I thought what I owed her at that moment of first contact after 40 years, was just a statement of, ‘Hey, you know, wait a minute— I’m willing to look at this through your eyes for a moment and reiterate that if this is what you think happened, I certainly regret that for you.’ But when I looked at the shopping list that she sent me, the offenses, I could not associate with any of those. And as I said, you know, if you look far and wide, you’re not going to find anybody else before or after that. But at the same time, I realized that period of time— that summer was a blur. And, you know, is there something I could have done innocently that she took as a corrupt intent? I don’t know. There’s just there’s not enough information there to work with.”

Sagan thinks there is another motive behind what White alleges.

Sagan claims White is politically extorting him and that there is an active FBI investigation into his recent online interactions with White.

“But the payoff came when she said that what she wanted me to do is to drop out of the race, or she was going public. Now that changed the whole, the whole complexion of this thing for me. Now, it’s a matter of a political act of extortion, blackmail. And that’s what I — that’s what I forwarded to Randall Sims. I said, ‘You know, this looks to me like blackmail. What do you think?’ And he had his, his assistant look into this and they checked on jurisdiction, and then that’s when he came back to me and said, ‘You know, this looks like it belongs in the hands of the FBI,'” Sagan said.

When asked for confirmation, the FBI refused to comment, saying they do not confirm or deny any investigation.

FBI response to request for confirmation of investigation.

Sagan says he will not resign.

Jackie Kingston: “You do not plan to resign your candidacy…”

Greg Sagan: “No. I’m not going to give them a cheap win. If she’s doing this, with the urging of the Texas Republican Party, which is not beyond the realm of possibility, they’re gonna have to exert more effort than that.”

In an email, White responded directly to those allegations. She says she is not affiliated with the Republican Party, and that his party affiliation is of no importance to her. However, she also told us she was referred to Jackie Kingston after speaking to a member of the Amarillo Area Young Republicans Facebook group about a matter related to the pending 2020 race for the District 13 seat that Congressman Thornberry is vacating.

We asked Sagan to respond to the transcript of White describing what she says happened when she says he molested her, through email and offered him the chance to come back in and interview again on camera about her exact story.

Sagan responded via email:

“I have no further comments to make on this issue at this time, and I will have no further comments to make until the FBI completes its investigation and informs me of their findings and intentions.”

Greg Sagan

Digital Extras:

How to Get Help:

If you or someone you know needs help because of sexual abuse, visit RAINN’s website or The Bridge Children’s Advocacy Center.

We sat down with the Executive Director of The Bridge Children’s Advocacy Center, Shelly Bohannon, to discuss the issue of child abuse.

Full Interview with Greg Sagan:

Watch our full interview with Greg Sagan in the video below:

More from MyHighPlains.com:

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