On Monday, a Seattle city councilwoman asked Seattle mayor Ed Murray to resign after an alleged victim of Murray’s sexual abuse went public for the first time.
Councilwoman Lorena González released a statement which read:
Since April, our City has reeled in the aftermath of sexual abuse allegations made against Mayor Ed Murray. I, like many in our community, take these allegations seriously. As a civil rights lawyer, I also take seriously a person’s inalienable right to due process as guaranteed by our U.S. Constitution…
I am incredibly grateful to the Mayor and his staff. The Mayor’s collaborative approach and his tireless commitment to public service is to be admired. These achievements and my admiration for his ability to get things done are why I endorsed his bid for re-election before these allegations came to light.
I am, however, now deeply concerned about this Mayor’s ability to continue leading the Executive branch in light of the recently released documents. While the caseworker’s report is not proof of criminal guilt, the gravity of the materials in the findings and the continued attention these issues will receive, raise questions about the ability of the Mayor, his office, his Department heads and senior management to remain focused on the critical issues facing our city. As a result, I am asking the Mayor to consider stepping down as Mayor and to work collaboratively with a subcommittee of the City Council to craft an Executive Leadership Transition Strategy.
Murray, who announced he was gay as far back as 1980, responded by issuing a statement of his own, which read, in part:
Since the day several months ago when sexual abuse allegations surfaced against me in the media, I have been clear that those allegations are false. They remain just as false today as they were back then.
But I also know that the allegations about events more than 30 years ago have created a cloud of uncertainty in the public mind. That is why in May I announced that I would not seek reelection to the job that I love, serving as mayor of Seattle. As I said at the time, it was a very difficult and painful decision for me, but upon reflection I felt that putting the best interests of the city first meant that I had to announce that I would step aside and allow someone else to take leadership of City government at the end of my term.
Guiding my decisions is my continued focus on what is in the best interest of the city. I know that today a member of the Council has issued a statement calling on me to resign, and warning of action against me if I do not. I continue to believe such a course of action would not be in the city’s best interest. That is why I am not going to resign, and intend to complete the few remaining months of my term as mayor.
… Seattle needs steady, focused leadership over the next several months. We have a lot of work to do. Establishing an effective transition between administrations takes months of careful planning and preparation – work that I and my team have already begun. We do not need the sort of abrupt and destabilizing transition that a resignation would create, likely bringing the City’s business to a grinding halt. Council action against me would similarly prevent the City’s business from continuing, only so I can again show these allegations from 30 years remain false.
On Sunday, alleged victim Lloyd Anderson, who now lives in Pensacola, Florida, spoke publicly to KIRO. He said he was frightened to go public because he was scared for himself and his family. He had been interviewed for weeks by KIRO reporter Dave Wagner over the phone before he consented to meet in person.
Anderson told Wagner of meeting Murray while living at the Perry Center for Children in Portland, where Murray worked. He said, "Ed Murray had offered me money in exchange for oral sex. I obliged. I think that's the hardest thing — to sit here and say right now, because I did."
Anderson noted that while he was at the Perry Center he became best friends with Jeff Simpson, who also later claimed Murray molested him. Anderson recalled, "I think I was 15 and we just let it go. We just never talked about it again.” Anderson said that when he was 17, he saw Murray in downtown Portland, where Murray invited him to his apartment, giving him drug money to perform oral sex.
Anderson continued, "I was having a hard time. I was having a rough time and, I'm sorry, but Mr. Murray took advantage of that situation and yeah.”
Wagner asked, “How often did that happen?”
Anderson: “Say five, six, maybe seven times. And he knew what he was doing. You don't pay somebody for sex and not know what you're doing."
When Wagner showed Anderson a KIRO 7 interview with Murray, in which he denied knowing Anderson, Anderson replied, "As far as him denying that he knows me — okay, it upsets me a little bit. But I'm not going to let him victimize me anymore. Can't tell me that I don't know him and he doesn't know me. Because that's just a flat out, bald-faced lie."
Anderson, noting that four men have accused Murray of abusing them, called Murray a “serial pedophile.” Anderson was a registered sex offender who served time in prison for lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 16; he later married and had children of his own.
Wagner said to him, “The mayor has said this is part of an anti-gay, right-wing agenda. Are you anti-gay?”
Anderson replied, “No, I’m not. I believe that everybody should have a chance to find love, and if that be gay or straight or what have you, then I am not against that.”
Wagner asked, “What would you like to say to Ed Murray if he's watching this?”
Anderson answered, “First of all, I believe in forgiveness and I do forgive you. But I also feel it's time for you to take accountability for your actions and taking that accountability as far as I'm concerned, you should step down and just go, just go."
Simpson, 49, has accused Murray of sexually abusing him when he was 13. He told KIRO, “When I was 13, it wasn't just molesting; he raped me. But it's something that for a while was happening daily.”
Simpson first reported Murray to police in 1984. In April, KIRO obtained an unauthenticated 1982 certificate that showed there was a foster-father relationship between Murray and Simpson.
Delvonn Heckard, 46, has sued Murray, saying Murray sexually abused him on numerous occasions in the 1980s. Maurice Levon Jones, currently in King County jail on drug charges has stated, “Mr. Murray was known for patronizing child prostitutes at the time. … Mr. Murray gave me money for sex.”
Murray’s team has denied all the allegations. Murray announced in May that he would not seek re-election. That didn’t stop various mayoral candidates from calling on him to resign. On Monday, candidates Cary Moon and Nikkita Oliver reiterated their call for him to step down.