The man who filed a lawsuit against the Seattle mayor, alleging sexual abuse in the 1980s, has made his name public. In response, Murray says, “I can state categorically that I have never had a sexual relationship with this individual, Delvonn Heckard, of any kind or at any time.”
A Kent man claiming Seattle Mayor Ed Murray sexually abused him three decades ago when he was an underage teen has shed his anonymity, saying, “I have nothing to hide.”
Delvonn Heckard, 46, who sued Murray this month over the alleged sexual abuse, revealed his full name in new court filings — prompting a forceful new denial from Murray, who said Wednesday he never had sex with Heckard or any other minor.
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Heckard had previously gone by his initials, “D.H.” in the lawsuit. He said he was inspired to reveal his full identity, in part, because of two other men who also have accused Murray of past sexual abuse.
“It’s not a big secret … and I didn’t do anything wrong anyway,” Heckard said in an interview Wednesday.
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Murray responded in a statement, 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, and that the abuse started when he was 15 years old.
“He knows my name by Delvonn,” he said. “…Even on the street, that is my name. I don’t go by nicknames.”
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.”
Heckard’s identity was revealed in an amended lawsuit complaint and in a letter his attorney, Lincoln Beauregard, filed in King County Superior Court and shared with reporters Tuesday.
If you need help
News reports of sexual-assault allegations could be a trigger for victms and survivors of abuse. Here are some resources:
- The King County Sexual Assault Resource Center offers a 24-hour resource line (888-998-6423). Additionally, KCSARC can help connect people with therapy, legal advocates and family services (kcsarc.org/gethelp).
- UW Medicine’s Center for Sexual Assault & Traumatic Stress (depts.washington.edu/hcsats) offers resources, including counseling and medical care. For immediate help, call 206-744-1600.
- For readers outside King County, the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs lists 38 Washington state providers that offer free services. (wcsap.org/find-help)
- RAINN: Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network provides a free, confidential hotline (800-656-4673) and online chat (hotline.rainn.org) with trained staff members.
Robert Sulkin, an attorney for Murray, responded in his own letter Wednesday, criticizing Beauregard for divulging the filings to the media before sharing those with him.
Sulkin added that Murray would be willing to undergo an independent medical examination by a University of Washington doctor 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, showing no such mole.
“When the (independent) 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 his interview Wednesday he’s at peace with finally revealing his identity. He said he’d 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.
Heckard also stood behind his claims about the mole, saying Murray must have had it removed.
In an hourlong interview earlier this month, Heckard described in detail his 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 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 them when 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 for sex. Lloyd Anderson said Murray paid him for sex on several occasions as a teenager. Neither Simpson nor Anderson has filed a lawsuit.
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. King County and Seattle Municipal Court records also show Heckard has been arrested or convicted of dozens of offenses dating back decades, including charges of theft, drug possession, and prostitution.
The prostitution conviction in 1990 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.”
Heckard noted he’s spent time in jail and in state prison for various crimes, and says he twice called Murray while incarcerated. His most recent criminal charge came last April after a Seattle police officer arrested him downtown for possessing 0.2 grams of crack cocaine, according to a police report. Heckard pleaded guilty to possession and was sentenced to 24 months community supervision and drug treatment, according to court records.
He says he’s now sober and in recovery and self-help programs. He 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.”
Heckard said he has struggled with shame from the alleged abuse for decades. He battled depression and tried suicide a couple times, he said. After his father’s death last year, 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 that, over the years, he has told about eight people of the alleged abuse. A friend of his during the 1980s, he said, knew Heckard was having sex for money with a man at Murray’s apartment at the time it was happening. Heckard said he has also since told counselors, friends and a sister.
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 from The Seattle Times.
On Wednesday, Murray responded to questions from reporters at a news conference, saying he did not recognize Heckard from photos in news stories.
“He looks like somebody maybe I could have met but then again you know being an activist in the ’80s, being out and dating in the ’80s, being an elected official in the ’90s, we’re talking about a 30-year period,” he said.
Regardless, Murray said, the allegations by Heckard and the other two men “are untrue.” When asked why the three men would make false claims, Murray said the accusations have surfaced in the past during his high-profile work on gay rights — and most recently after he sued President Trump over an immigration crackdown.
“They didn’t come up the other 30 years, they come up at a time it seems when certain things happen that are highly partisan and highly political,” he said.
Murray and his supporters have claimed political biases against him because Beauregard’s law firm was co-founded by Tacoma attorney Jack Connelly, who has opposed gay marriage and some transgender rights.
Heckard and his attorneys have scoffed at the mayor’s claims of a political conspiracy.
“My politics line up completely with the mayor’s,” said Lawand Anderson, a Des Moines attorney who initially took on Heckard’s case.
Anderson, who previously worked for the city of Seattle, said she supported Murray when he ran in 2013. “Insinuating that I allowed or encouraged a situation that is anti-gay or something is tremendously offensive,” she said.
The revised lawsuit filed Tuesday night calls Heckard an “openly gay man with no real political inclinations.”
“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 added that Heckard learned through reporting by The Seattle 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.”