Lengthy discussion went into the decision to publish The Seattle Times’ story of sexual-abuse accusations against the Seattle mayor.
In March 2008, The Seattle Times received a phone call from a man claiming Ed Murray sexually abused him as a child. The man, Jeff Simpson, also called various lawmakers and other media organizations, making the same claims.
The Seattle Times investigated allegations by Simpson and another man, Lloyd Anderson, seeking documentation or witnesses to corroborate their accounts. Among other things, we learned that an attorney for Simpson had withdrawn from a potential lawsuit against Murray, then a state legislator.
Ultimately, we felt we did not have enough information to publish these very serious accusations.
- Seattle Mayor Ed Murray resigns after fifth child sex-abuse allegation
- Murray's cousin accuses him of child molestation
- Man who sued Murray over alleged sex abuse wants millions from the city
- Accuser drops lawsuit against Seattle mayor
- Murray won't seek second term: 'It tears me to pieces to step away'
- Lawsuit alleges Murray sexually abused troubled teen in 1980s
- Meet Lincoln Beauregard, the lawyer for Mayor Murray’s accuser
- ‘He knows my name’: Accuser speaks out
- Why we're not allowing reader comments
- Podcast: How our story came together
We decided we needed to take another look when we learned recently that a Kent man was preparing to sue now-Mayor Murray.
A lawsuit of this nature against a public official is news.
When a claim is filed in court, the justice system assures the accused of a thorough public examination of any evidence that is presented, along with the opportunity to present a full defense. The filing of the lawsuit is also, in itself, a matter of public interest.
When we learned this lawsuit was pending, we therefore began looking into the new allegations, along with the earlier ones. We found no connection between the new accuser, identified in the lawsuit as D.H., and the other men. Our reporting revealed similarities among the three accounts, including some graphic details. We felt readers should know.
We don’t take these decisions lightly, and make them only after lengthy discussions. We know this is a disturbing story. But we cannot shy away from important stories simply because they make us uncomfortable.