The 46-year-old Kent man now says he wants to publicly tell his story: “Once people hear me talk, they’ll be able to feel my spirit, and they’ll have no doubts that what I’m saying is true.” Mayor Ed Murray, meanwhile says, “I have never had a sexual relationship with this individual.”
A 46-year-old Kent man accusing Seattle Mayor Ed Murray of sexually abusing him three decades ago has gone public with his full name — prompting a forceful new denial from Murray, who said Wednesday he never had a sexual relationship with the man.
In new court filings and a letter Tuesday, the man suing Murray over alleged sex abuse revealed his full name as Delvonn Heckard. He previously had gone by his initials, “D.H.” in the lawsuit.
In a letter sent late Tuesday to Murray’s attorney, Heckard’s lawyer, Lincoln Beauregard, said he and his client decided to go public with the name so Murray could no longer claim that he didn’t know who “D.H.” is.
“We have been sitting back mystified that Mayor Murray opted to hold press conferences, sit for television interviews and have his genitals examined while denying any knowledge as to our client without bothering to inquire his identity,” Beauregard said in the letter to Murray’s Seattle attorney, Robert Sulkin.
Exclusive: Heckard talks about his allegations in an interview with Seattle Times reporters Lewis Kamb and Jim Brunner.
The letter went on to disclose Heckard’s identity and said that he “doubts Mr. Murray ever knew his last name. However, Mr. Heckard does expect Mr. Murray to recall ‘Delvon’ (sic) from the Capitol Hill days.”
Murray responded in a statement Wednesday morning, saying “I can state categorically that I have never had a sexual relationship with this individual, Delvonn Heckard, of any kind or at any time.”
Heckard claims Murray repeatedly raped him as a teenager by paying him for sex when he was a crack addict living on the streets of Seattle in the late 1980s. Heckard claims the abuse started when he was 15 years old.
In his statement, Murray denied Heckard’s claims.
“I have never paid for sex, and I have never had sex with a minor. Heckard’s claims about my anatomy were proved medically false last week. His accusations are not true,” Murray added, saying he’d just learned Heckard’s name and it was “not familiar to me.”
Murray’s statement said it was “possible” he had met Heckard at some point as he’d encountered “thousands of people during my decades of public service.” But, he repeated he’d never had sex with Heckard or any minor.
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In a letter responding to Beauregard, Sulkin, the mayor’s attorney, criticized Heckard’s lawyer for sharing the new information about Heckard with the media before sharing it with him.
Sulkin added that Murray was willing to undergo an independent medical examination by University of Washington doctors to disprove Heckard’s claim about a distinctive mole on the mayor’s anatomy. The mayor previously released a report of a similar examination by his personal doctor.
“When the (inedependent) exam shows that your client’s allegations are false, we would expect you to drop your complaint,” Sulkin wrote.
“They’ll have no doubts”
Heckard said in a phone interview early Wednesday that he’s at peace with finally revealing his identity.
“It’s not a big secret,” he said. “I have nothing to hide, and I didn’t do anything wrong anyway.”
Heckard said in the interview that he had hoped for privacy, but wants to publicly tell his story.
“Once people hear me talk, they’ll be able to feel my spirit, and they’ll have no doubts that what I’m saying is true,” he said. “I mean, you know when someone is bullshittin’ you, right? Well I ain’t bullshittin’ nobody.”
In an hour-long interview earlier this month, Heckard described a troubled life growing up the son of drug addicts.
When I was 15, my parents let some gentleman from California move into our apartment, and that’s when crack came about,” he said. “They would pay me to watch out for the police and eventually my mom got strung out on crack, my brother, my dad and me.”
Heckard said he eventually dropped out of Nathan Hale High School as a freshman and started hanging out and living on the streets, mostly on Broadway. He said he met Murray getting off of a Metro bus, and Murray invited him back to his nearby apartment where he paid him $10 for oral sex — the first of at least 50 such encounters, he said.
“I’m sure that he could tell that I was on drugs and was homeless and stuff and he invited me to his home,” Heckard said.
Murray also has denied allegations from two other men who told The Seattle Times that Murray sexually abused themwhen they were teenagers in Portland during the early 1980s. Jeff Simpson, Murray’s former foster son, says Murray began sexually abusing him as a 13-year-old and later paid him to perform sexual acts. Lloyd Anderson said Murray paid him for sex on several occasions as a teenager.
All three of Murray’s accusers have acknowledged serious criminal records, but say they are telling the truth.
Now in recovery
Heckard said he struggled for years with addiction to crack cocaine, and King County and Seattle Municipal Court records show dozens of arrests and convictions on charges including theft, drug possession, and prostitution.
The prostitution case, he said, involved an undercover officer Heckard said he thought wanted to buy crack.
“When I went to court, I was so embarrassed about that,” Heckard recalled. “…I pled guilty to it, but he got me, he got me good. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t have done what he wanted me to do, but that was not my purpose of getting in that car. I was thinking he wanted some crack or whatever.”
In 2010, Heckard and another man were arrested following a bungled burglary after trying to steal quarters from coin-operated laundry machines at a First Hill apartment — leaving the laundry room flooded with water, according to a story in seattlepi.com.
In an interview this month, Heckard recalled he had been smoking crack in the laundry room on occasion for years before that incident.
“We were (caught) red-handed,” he said. “We both had quarters in our pockets. They gave me 60 months for that, they gave him 30 days for that.”
Heckard noted he’s spent time in jail and in state prison for various crimes, and says he twice called Murray while incarcerated.
He says he’s now in recovery and self-help programs and attends Seattle Central College, where he takes acting courses and is studying to become a chemical-dependency counselor, he said.
“My mom and dad both passed away from overdoses, so I want to be able to help people, you know?,” he said. “And I know they would really be proud of me, even though they brought me up around the drugs. You know, I don’t blame them. and I don’t hold resentments towards them, because they were addicts themselves and they weren’t in the right frame of mind to even help themselves.”
Sober for about a year, Heckard said he has struggled with shame over Murray’s alleged abuse for decades. He battled depression and tried suicide a couple times, he said. After his father’s death about a year ago, Heckard said he felt free to finally tell his story.
“I deal with it a lot,” he said of the alleged abuse. “Sometimes I don’t’ even get no sleep because I’m thinking about it. Sometimes I think that’s where a lot of my depression comes from. I don’t know if anyone can understand … how it feels to just be disgraced and humiliated and thought of as a piece of — I can’t even think of the word for that.”
Heckard said he has told about eight people about the alleged abuse over the years. A friend of his during the 1980s knew Heckard was having sex for money with a man at Murray’s apartment at the time it was happening, he said. Heckard also has since told counselors, friends and a sister, he said.
Murray claims conspiracy
Murray — who has championed gay rights over his career in the Legislature and now as mayor — has claimed the accusations against him are false and part of an anti-gay political conspiracy against him. The mayor so far has not agreed to interview requests made by The Times.
Late Tuesday, Heckard’s lawyers filed an amended complaint in court, revealing their client’s identity and disputing the mayor’s rebuttal about political motivations.
The revised lawsuit says Heckard is an “openly gay man with no real political inclinations.”
It also states that Heckard initially took his case to Des Moines attorney Lawand Anderson and visited with other lawyers before retaining the Connelly Law Offices. Murray and his supporters have claimed the firm may have political biases against him because the firm’s co-founder, Jack Connelly, has taken stances against gay- and transgender-rights issues.
“D.H. is not a pawn in any conspiracy, as alleged by Mr. Murray and his hit team,” the revised complaint states. “However, D.H’s claims are politically motivated in that he does not think a man who abuses children, and then lies about it in office, should be in high office without the public being afforded full information.”
The amended complaint, filed in King County Superior Court, said Heckard learned through reporting by The Times “of the existence of Jeff Simpson and Lloyd Anderson.”
Beauregard said late Tuesday that Heckard “felt inspired” by Simpson’s and Anderson’s “willingness to step forward.”
“He also feels it is the right thing to do to proceed with his real name since Mr. Simpson and Mr. Anderson have been willing as well,” he said.
Now that his identity is known, Heckard said he looks forward to confronting Murray.
“For me, really the next thing is I want to see him face to face,” he said. “I want to see his reaction. He can only deny it for so long. He can’t just keep on lying forever.”