Seattle mayor accused of sex abuse in lawsuit, media report
SEATTLE | A lawsuit filed Thursday accuses Seattle Mayor Ed Murray of sexually molesting a teenage highschool dropout in the 1980s, and in interviews with The Seattle Times, two other men claim he abused them.
In the lawsuit filed in King County Superior Court, a 46-year-old man, identified only by the initials, D.H., said Mr. Murray “raped and molested him” over several years, beginning in 1986, when he was 15 and addicted to crack cocaine. In 1986, Mr. Murray turned 31.
The man said he met Mr. Murray on a city bus, and Mr. Murray invited him back to his apartment, propositioning him for sex and haggling over the price.
Mr. Murray paid him $10 to $20 for each of at least 50 encounters over the next four to five years, the lawsuit said.
“I have been dealing with this for over 30 years,” the man, now sober for a year, told the 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.”
The man also said his father’s recent death freed him of a desire to keep the abuse secret.
The mayor, who is openly gay, denied the accusations through his personal spokesman Jeff Reading.
“These false accusations are intended to damage a prominent elected official who has been a defender of vulnerable populations for decades,” said a statement issued by Mr. Reading. “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.”
Mr. Murray was elected mayor in 2013 after a long career in the Legislature, where he led efforts on gay marriage in the state. As mayor he pushed to increase the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour and address the homelessness crisis in Seattle.
The Seattle Times also reported that two other men said they knew Mr. Murray when they lived in a Portland, Oregon, center for troubled children.
Jeff Simpson and Lloyd Anderson accused Mr. Murray of abusing them in the 1980s and paying them for sex and said they’d be willing to testify about it, the Times said.
The Times said one of them talked with a social worker and detective at the time. No charges were filed and an entry in an old Multnomah County district attorney’s database indicates the office considered but rejected a felony third-degree sodomy case in May 1984. Any other police and child welfare records would have been destroyed by now, officials said.
Mr. Simpson and Mr. Anderson raised the accusations a decade ago in calls to reporters and Washington state lawmakers, and they repeated them in recent interviews with the Times.
Mr. Reading’s statement acknowledged those accusations.
“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,” the statement said.
Mr. Simpson, 49, said Mr. Murray raped him over several years, starting at age 13, and in later years, paid him.
“I would really like for him to admit it and to take responsibility,” Mr. Simpson told two Times reporters who visited him unannounced in Portland. “I don’t necessarily think that he destroyed my life but I believe a lot of the problems I have stemmed from this.”
Mr. Simpson tried to bring a lawsuit against Mr. Murray in 2007, with Mr. Anderson’s support, but his lawyer withdrew from the case. In 2008, Mr. Simpson started calling media organizations and lawmakers in Olympia, saying Mr. Murray, then a state senator, was a pedophile who had sexually abused him.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray denied Thursday through a personal spokesman that he sexually molested a teenage high school dropout in the 1980s .