Seattle Mayor Ed Murray faces a sex abuse scandal as he heads into a reelection battle to retain his office at City Hall.
The Seattle Times reported Thursday that the 61-year-old faces a lawsuit over allegations that he sexually abused a drug-addicted teen he met on Capitol Hill in the 1980s before Murray launched his political career:
A 46-year-old Kent man sued Seattle Mayor Ed Murray on Thursday, claiming Murray “raped and molested him” over several years, beginning in 1986 when the man was a 15-year-old high-school dropout. The lawsuit in King County Superior Court, filed under the man’s initials, “D.H.,” alleges Murray sexually abused the crack-cocaine addicted teen on numerous occasions for payments of $10 to $20. “I have been dealing with this for over 30 years,” the man, now sober for a year, said in an interview with The Seattle Times. He said he was coming forward as part of a “healing process” after years of “the shame, the embarrassment, the guilt, the humiliation that I put myself through and that he put me through.”
Documents in the lawsuit were not yet available via the King County Superior Court’s online record system as of Thursday afternoon. UPDATE 4/7/2017: The complaint and associated filings from Connelly Law attorneys Lincoln C. Beauregard and Julie A. Kays and L.A. Law attorney Lawand Anderson are now available. We have posted the eight-page complaint below. The court has set a trial date for April 2018 though it seems clear things are playing out much more quickly around the suit. The plaintiff’s legal team is calling on the mayor to be available for questions within 90 days. “An early step in this lawsuit will be deposing Mr. Murray, which should occur within the first ninety (90) days of filing,” they write. “D.H. believes that it will be hard, if not nearly impossible for Mr. Murray to deny the abuse.” The full complaint is below:
According to the lawsuit, the victim told Murray he was 15 when the abuse began, underage by consent law in Washington now and at the time of the alleged abuse. The alleged victim said he is coming forward now because of the recent death of his father and because he is now undergoing counseling and participating in addiction-recovery programs, the Seattle Times reports. The statute of limitations to bring charges and investigate the allegations in a criminal case have expired.
The Times also documents two others who came forward previously with allegations of sexual abuse by Murray. A spokesperson for Murray said the mayor denies the accusations and “will vigorously fight the allegations in court” —
These false accusations are intended to damage a prominent elected official who has been a defender of vulnerable populations for decades. It is not a coincidence that this shakedown effort comes within weeks of the campaign filing deadline. These unsubstantiated assertions, dating back three decades, are categorically false. Mayor Murray has never engaged in an inappropriate relationship with any minor. The two older accusations were promoted by extreme right-wing antigay activists in the midst of the marriage equality campaign, and were thoroughly investigated and dismissed by both law enforcement authorities and the media. Mayor Murray will vigorously fight these allegations in court.
In addition to his quest to serve a second term as mayor, 2017 has been marked by Murray’s efforts to to push back on policies championed by the new Trump administration. In its most recent swipe, Murray has led the way for the City of Seattle to sue the administration over its threats to cut funding to so-called sanctuary cities.
After 18 years serving in the legislature in Olympia, Murray cruised to easy victory in November 2013 over incumbent Mike McGinn thanks in part to strong support on his home turf in the Capitol Hill neighborhood where the champion of LGBTQ civil rights has made his home since the ’80s. The Capitol Hill resident and Seattle’s first openly gay mayor launched his campaign with a big head start last summer in a party at big time political PR executive Roger Nyhus’s home near Volunteer Park. Murray has told CHS about his time as a tenant on Capitol Hill where he said he rented for 15 years before buying his North Capitol Hill home where he lives with spouse Michael Shiosaki.
The short statement was broadcast live via Facebook by several media organizations including Q13 Fox
UPDATE 4/7/17 3:02 PM: In an afternoon media conference, Murray said he will not step down and plans to continue his run for reelection calling the accusations “untrue allegations” that have been “very painful.” “I understand the individual is troubled,” Murray said of his accuser. “This makes me sad, too.”
Murray said the allegations are “are simply not true” but declined to take questions, saying the situation is a legal matter to handle in the courts.
“I will not back down now,” Murray said.
UPDATE 4/11/2017: The mayor’s legal team went on the offensive Tuesday releasing a medical report they say shows the case against Murray is bogus:
Speaking to reporters today, Murray’s lawyer, Bob Sulkin, said Murray’s longtime doctor examined him this morning and wrote the report. When asked whether the mayor would subject to another medical examination by a doctor who doesn’t know him, Sulkin said yes, if that was ordered by a judge. “We have to understand what the heart of the accuser’s allegation is,” Sulkin said. “It’s the detailing of Mayor Murray’s private anatomy. Sure, addresses and phone numbers are publicly available—not important. But this is the heart of the allegation.” Sulkin dismissed the other two accusers’ stories as “debunked.”