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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 21, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 29
I won't go, Ed Murray says

Old documents spark new calls for resignation
Section One
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I won't go, Ed Murray says

Old documents spark new calls for resignation

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Embattled Seattle Mayor Ed Murray insisted he would not step down after the Seattle Times released documents showing that Oregon child protective officials believed that he had molested his foster son in the early 1980s.

The documents - once thought to have been destroyed - resurfaced in the Times on July 16, and reignited the controversy around Murray's sexual conduct.

Murray was the defendant in a lawsuit filed three months ago charging that he'd had sex with a then-underage 15-year-old boy in the late 1980s. Other accusations of sexual abuse of teenage boys followed. The newly revealed documents come from one of those cases, complaints made by Murray's one-time foster son Jeff Simpson.

Murray's long political career came to an abrupt end in May when he dropped out of the race for reelection. In June his accuser, Delvonn Heckard, dropped his lawsuit against Murray the day before Heckard was set to be formally deposed by Murray's legal team.

According to documents obtained by the Seattle Times in a public records request, Oregon Child Protective Services (CPS) investigators found Simpson's allegations of sexual abuse valid. A detective found two corroborating witnesses, and a letter from the Portland District Attorney's Office said they didn't believe Simpson was lying.

Oregon authorities concluded that Murray should no longer be certified as a potential foster parent. Shortly afterwards, Murray returned to Seattle and by the late 1980s had allegedly established an ongoing relationship with Delvonn Heckard, the plaintiff in the recent sex abuse lawsuit.

In his statement rebutting the Times story, Murray said he'd never been informed of the CPS assessment and hadn't previously seen the other records and said he would have appealed the findings if he had known about them.

Murray's statement began with an unequivocal denial of the charges against him, a position he has not changed since these charges first surfaced.

'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,' he said. 'They remain just as false today as they were back then.'

According to Murray, Simpson's 'accusations were fully investigated at the time, and the District Attorney decided there was too much doubt to go forward with a case against me or the other foster parent [facing similar accusations from Simpson]. In fact, after examining the hundreds of pages of documents generated by the investigation, the District Attorney actually withdrew the case from the Grand Jury.'

According to the Times story, prosecutors believed Simpson's account, but thought he would not be a credible witness because of his history of substance abuse, and only for that reason decided to drop the case against Murray.

While Murray's original denials were accepted at face value by many people, the new information published by the Seattle Times seemed to turn the tide against him.

Seattle City Council member and former Murray ally Lorena Gonzalez called for the mayor to resign or face removal from office. If Murray doesn't quit by July 24, Gonzalez warned, the City Council should convene a committee 'to determine if a transition in executive leadership is merited under these circumstances.'

Gonzalez's colleagues on the Council were not so quick to jump into the fray, however.

City Council President Bruce Harrell - who would become Acting Mayor if Murray resigned - said the Mayor was still doing his job and should not be removed from office. Sally Bagshaw, the only Council member to defend Murray, warned her colleagues against 'grandstanding.'

Mayoral candidates Jessyn Farrell, Mike McGinn, Carey Moon, and Nikkita Oliver all joined Gonzalez in calling for Murray to step down.

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I won't go, Ed Murray says

Old documents spark new calls for resignation

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