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Scott Kveton, CEO of mobile marketing platform Urban Airship resigns over rape allegations

Scott Kveton, CEO of the Portland-based mobile marketing startup Urban Airship resigned today, after it was revealed that he was under investigation for several counts of sexual assault, abuse and intimidation.

A woman, with whom Kveton had an on-again off-again relationship over the last few years, is accusing him of sexually assaulting her in 2013 and 2012. The Oregonian reports that Kveton and his accuser had a tumultuous relationship that involved plenty of boundary-ushing activity in their sex lives:

Police records and hundreds of pages of texts, emails and online chats provided by Kveton’s accuser to police and The Oregonian show that the pair had a highly physical relationship, which they once likened to the role-playing couple in the hit erotica novel “50 Shades of Gray.” They pushed each other’s boundaries – too far, she told him in numerous emails and texts.

The Oregonian is not identifying the woman because she claims to be a victim of sexual assault.

It’s a complicated case and a complicated relationship. Kveton and his accuser kept returning to one another, year after year, despite the police reports and court filings and allegations.

The first sexual assault accusation stems from an incident in 2010:

The first accusation involves an early Monday morning in February 2010, shortly after Kveton had moved out of the woman’s home. Later describing the incident to Beaverton police, the woman told an officer that she called Kveton for a ride from a bar after a Sunday night out.

They returned to Kveton’s home, she said, and she went to sleep on a couch while Kveton slept upstairs. At some point, she told police, he texted to ask her to join him. When she declined, she said, Kveton came downstairs and raped her. She told police she left his home shortly afterward.

The incident has been acknowledged by both parties as the moment when their relationship changed, and Kveton particularly expressed regret in a series of emails. 

Despite this, the two continued the relationship. However, the woman then cited incidents in later years, including Kveton videotaping her without her consent and as well as drugging and tying her up

Amid the allegations and ongoing investigation, Kveton announced today that he would be stepping down from his post as CEO of the company he founded in 2009. He framed it as an “acceleration” of what he was already planning to do.

Writing on the company blog, Kveton said:

When the story about my personal situation was published last Wednesday, it became clear that my transition timing needed to accelerate.  So effective immediately, I am going on an extended leave of absence to focus on resolving this situation.  I care way too much about Urban Airship to try to resolve this issue and simultaneously lead the company.  You deserve someone who has complete focus on the business without distraction.

Kveton was a widely revered figure in the Portland tech scene, and was the subject of a glowing story in Forbes published only last week. Under his leadership, Urban Airship had grown to become one of Portland’s leading tech companies, raising tens of millions in venture capital, with over 150 employees. The platform, which enables mobile apps to send “push notifications” for breaking news, sports updates or progress in ongoing video games counts ESPN, FOX and Walgreens among its clients.

This case comes only a couple of months after another young marketing tech entrepreneur lost his postion over a domestic abuse case. RadiumOne CEO Gurbaksh Chahal was fired by the company board after he was accused of beating his girlfriend 117 times in half an hour over her perceived infidelity. For his part, Chahal denies the accusations calling the incident “overblown.” He has vowed to take the RadiumOne board to court, claiming they had no cause to terminate him, especially since they had initially gone on record supporting him.

However, Kveton’s case seems far more complicated, and we strongly recommend you read the entire article in the Oregonian to gain a complete perspective. Urban Airship hasn’t commented on the charges, other than to say it was a very personal, and private matter.

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