After denying an affair with a male teenager during his candidacy for mayor, Portland's newly elected mayor has admitted to the sexual relationship.

Openly gay Sam Adams said he made a mistake in concealing the true nature of the relationship.

“I want to publicly acknowledge I made a mistake and apologize for it,” Adams told the Willamette Week in a telephone conversation from Washington where he was preparing to attend the inauguration of President Barack Obama. “In the past, I've characterized my relationship with Beau Breedlove as purely non-sexual and that is not true.”

On Thursday, the newspaper confronted Adams with evidence it had gathered over several months concerning the affair, including statements from several of Breedlove's friends who said the young man had confided in them that the two shared an intimate relationship. During that meeting, the newspaper reported that Adams again denied having a sexual affair with Breedlove.

Adams has repeatedly said he was merely mentoring Breedlove, and both men have said their relationship was just platonic.

Rumors of the affair surfaced in 2007 during the mayoral campaign. Adams dismissed those reports as a “nasty smear.”

“I lied at the time because I was afraid that people would believe untrue rumors 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.”

Adams now says Breedlove was 18 at the time they had sex, but the pair met in 2005 when the former legislative intern was 17.

“I should have been honest at the time about the true nature of my relationship with Beau Breedlove when questions about my relationship with him first surfaced publicly in October 2007. In fact, Beau encouraged me to be honest about the facts of our relationship. I am deeply sorry that I asked him to lie for me,” Adams said.

A spokesman for Adams said he would promptly return to Portland to issue a public apology.

Adams became the first openly gay mayor to run one of the 30 largest cities in the United States when he took office on January 1.