Seattle mayor resigns over allegations
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On Tuesday, September 12, the mayor of Seattle, Ed Murray, announced his resignation due to the fifth accusation of child-sexual abuse filed against him. The sixty-two year old mayor was elected in 2014 as the first openly gay mayor of Seattle. Murray’s career began as a campaign manager for the first openly gay state legislator, and Murray’s mentor, Cal Anderson in 1988. Rising through the Democratic party, he eventually earned the title as mayor of Seattle.
Murray was best known as an advocate for the LGBTQ community and a defender of immigrants’ rights. His popularity was on the rise until four accusations of sexual abuse, and an investigation of one of the alleged abuses, surfaced a few months ago. According to the Seattle Times, even the Seattle LGBTQ Commission and Seattle Human Rights Commission joined council members Sawant and González in calling for Murray to resign this past summer.
In April, a lawsuit was filed against Murray by a Seattle resident, Delvonn Heckard. Heckard claimed that he was raped and molested by Murray as a fifteen year old drug addict. After denying the claim, several other claims emerged from other men in Oregon who say that they were also abused by Murray in the 1980s.
Shockingly, one of the accusers was a foster child of Murray’s who was in his care for the year of 1984. The thirteen-year-old child, at the time, reported the alleged crimes to the police, and Murray was investigated. Although he was prohibited by the Oregon government from fostering anymore children, there were no charges filed against him.
According to the Seattle Times, a similar claim made by Murray’s cousin, Joseph Dryer, effectively convinced him that it was time to step down. Dryer stated that Murray began abusing him when he was thirteen years old. At the time, Murray was spending a year living at Dyer’s home, during which time the two of them shared a room.
The first claims were brought to the authorities attention around ten years ago. However, the claims were quickly dismissed because Murray had suggested that they were false allegations fabricated to thwart his political career. The past caught up with Murray during the last few months when Heckard’s claims were brought to light. The scandal was not only detrimental to the mayor, but to the city of Seattle as a whole.
Murray has continued to defend his innocence and although he denied every claim against him, he decided to resign for the good of the city. CNN reported that the majority of Murray’s staff and coworkers have said that they are relieved that Murray is resigning because of the backlash they are facing due to the accusations.
After Murray’s resignation, City Council member Bruce Harrell became active mayor until turning the position down only a few days later. The council will continue to look for a replacement to serve out the remainder of Murray’s term, but until then Harrell will fulfill all duties as mayor.