Three men have come forward to accuse Seattle Mayor Ed Murray of sexually abusing them as teenagers in the 1980s, allegations a spokesman for the openly gay Democrat called “categorically false.”
Murray, a rising star in liberal politics, said the allegations, including a civil suit filed by one of the three men, are timed to harm his re-election campaign, which officially begins in May, the candidate filing deadline.
The Seattle Times reported that two of the men came forward with their allegations in 2008 and approached various media outlets, the paper included, to tell their story. Murray lobbied heavily to squash the allegations, pointing at the lengthy criminal records the accusers have. He made the same argument at the time, that the accusers, who said they would be willing to testify under oath, had concocted stories from 30 years ago in an attempt to hurt Murray’s political career.
The allegations were never published and an effort by the two men to file a civil suit fell apart when their lawyer backed out, further proof Murray argued the claims lacked any merit. The paper said it belatedly published the initial allegations after the D.H. lawsuit because the similarities in the allegations lent credibility to the story.
They mayor’s office disagreed.
“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. … Mayor Murray will vigorously fight these allegations in court,” Murray’s spokesman said in a statement.
At the time of the first allegations, Murray was a state senator and an LGBT leader in Washington state’s battle over whether to legalize same-sex marriage. After the state approved the measure, Murray married his longtime partner and ran for mayor of Seattle.
The most recent accuser, identified by his initials D.H., filed a lawsuit in civil court seeking unspecified monetary damages. He said he was 15 when he first had sex with Murray, one year younger than the state’s age of consent, but the abuse continued for years. The statute of limitations on criminal charges stemming from the allegations expired long ago.
The stories the three men told have similarities. All said Murray, who was in his 20s and 30s working with nonprofits in the area, befriended them as adolescents who were struggling with drug addiction and abandonment. One of the men said Murray eventually took him into his home for several months. Each said Murray offered small sums of money in exchange for sex acts. The men said they initially resisted, but eventually relented because they needed the money to buy drugs. The two initial accusers said they were unaware of a third person until reporters brought the lawsuit to their attention. Both men said they did not have any idea who the third accuser could be.
The allegations share another detail in common: Both accounts contain specific graphic descriptions of Murray’s genitals.
Speaking to the Seattle Times, D.H., who is now in his 40s, said he has been clean of a crack cocaine addiction for a year, and said the death of his father prompted him to come forward with the allegations.
“I have been dealing with this for over 30 years,” the man said. He called the lawsuit 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.”
Reported by UPI