The Seattle mayor says he will stay on the job and continue his campaign for re-election, while defending himself against allegations that he sexually abused a teenager in the 1980s.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray was defiant Friday, saying he will stay on the job and continue his campaign for re-election, while defending himself against allegations that he sexually abused a teenager in the 1980s.
This was Murray’s first public statement since a 46-year-old Kent man filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging Murray “raped and molested” him, beginning in 1986 when the man was 15 years old.
“Let me be clear, the allegations, dating back to a period of more than 30 years, are simply not true,” said Murray, 61. “Things have never come easy to me in life, but I have never backed down and I will not back down now.”
Murray, who took no questions, made the statement in the downtown Seattle office of Robert Sulkin, an attorney defending him against the lawsuit. Murray’s husband, Michael Shiosaki, was in attendance.
“To be on the receiving end of such untrue allegations is painful for me, it is painful for my husband, and for those who are close to us,” Murray said.
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The mayor also spoke about the man filing the lawsuit: “I understand the individual making these accusations is troubled, and that makes me sad as well.”
Murray spoke for less than two minutes.
Seattle attorney Lincoln Beauregard, who represents the man suing Murray — identified in the lawsuit as “D.H.” — said he hadn’t spoken with his client Friday.
But Beauregard had his own reaction to Murray’s statement.
“He offered a description of my client as `troubled,’ so he’s either saying he knows who my client is, or the kind of people who bring accusations in a lawsuit like this are troubled,” he said. “That’s not right.”
“He should not fear this allegation if it’s not true. He should have stood up there and answered questions…. He can’t even answer a simple question? That’ s not the way an innocent person acts.”
Filed in King County Superior Court, D.H.’s lawsuit alleges Murray sexually abused the teenager over several years for payments of $10 to $20. It says D.H. was a high-school dropout addicted to crack cocaine who met Murray on a Metro bus.
Murray also has denied allegations by two men who say they knew Murray when they were growing up in a Portland center for troubled children. Jeff Simpson and Lloyd Anderson allege Murray abused them in the 1980s, when they were teenagers.
They both raised their allegations a decade ago, with Simpson making calls to reporters and Washington state lawmakers. They repeated their accusations in recent interviews with The Seattle Times, saying they would testify in court if needed.
On Thursday, through Sulkin and a spokesman, Murray denied the allegations in D.H.’s lawsuits along with the claims made by Simpson and Anderson, who have never filed a lawsuit.
In an interview Friday afternoon before Murray appeared before reporters, Simpson said the mayor’s denials have not surprised him.
“This is exactly what he did last time, too,” Simpson said, referring to Murray denying the allegations when Simpson tried to raise them more than a decade ago.
“That’s OK,” he said. “The truth is out there.”
With Thursday’s lawsuit, Murray faces a formal public accusation for the first time, and the details of D.H.’s claims bear similarities to the earlier allegations by Simpson and Anderson.
All three accusers have substantial criminal records.
Murray is a progressive Democrat who served in the Washington Legislature for more than a decade, where his work made him a champion for gay rights.
“I will continue to be mayor of this city. I will continue to run for re-election,” he said Friday. “And I plan to lead this city as we work our way through the wind and rainstorm of this weekend, as well as the many challenges we face going forward.”