SEATTLE, Wash. — The openly homosexual mayor of Seattle, Washington has refused a call to resign from office in the midst of allegations that he sexually abused several boys, including his foster son, over 30 years ago.
“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,” Mayor Ed Murray said in a statement on Monday. “My administration and I continue to govern the city effectively, and I am proud that we continue to deliver results that will improve the lives of the people of Seattle.”
Council member Lorena Gonzalez had urged Murray to step down earlier in the day, expressing concern over recently surfaced Oregon Child Protective Services records from the 1980’s that concluded that Murray had abused foster son Jeff Simpson as a teen.
Simpson is now 49, and has unavailingly sought to sue Murray. Simpson met Murray while living at the Perry Center for Children, where Murray worked with youth.
“When I was 13, it wasn’t just molesting; he raped me,” he told local television station KIRO. “But it’s something that for a while was happening daily.”
The outlet obtained the documents following a public records request, and learned that Murray was never charged because the Multnomah County prosecutor’s office found Simpson to be emotionally unstable.
While caseworker Judy Butler concluded in 1984 that “Jeff Simpson has been sexually abused by … Edward Murray,” Deputy District Attorney Mary Tomlinson also noted that prosecutors “could not be sure of meeting the high burden of proof in a criminal case—of proof beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty.”
“However, this in no way means that the District Attorney’s Office has decided Jeff’s allegations are not true,” she added.
Murray was prohibited from serving as a foster parent in the future.
When questioned about the matter in April, Murray’s spokesman, Jeff Reading, asserted that the the mayor was being targeted because he is homosexual. Murray “married” his partner, Michael Shiosaki, in 2013 at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle. The two had met 22 years ago.
“The two older accusations were promoted by extreme right-wing anti-gay activists in the midst of the marriage equality campaign, and were thoroughly investigated and dismissed by both law enforcement authorities and the media,” Reading stated.
Three other men—Lloyd Anderson, Delvonn Heckard and Maurice Levon Jones—have alleged that Murray paid them drug money for sex in the 1980’s. Heckard has filed a lawsuit over the matter.
Gonzalez believes that the revelations and accusations raise questions about Murray’s fitness to serve.
“[T]he gravity of the materials in the finding and the continued attention to 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,” she said in a statement. “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 says he will not run for reelection when his term ends, has refused to give up his seat until then. He denies all of the allegations.
“Seattle needs steady, focused leadership over the next several months. We have a lot of work to do,” he said on Monday. “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 [ago] remain false.”