During an interview from jail, Lavon Jones, 44 — the fourth man to publicly accuse Murray of paying for sex — described himself as a crack-addicted teenage prostitute living on the streets in the 1980s when he met the man who would later become Seattle’s mayor.
He’s hazy about some details, but he claims to distinctly remember the face.
“Ed Murray has a face you never forget,” Maurice Lavon Jones said from behind thick security glass.
During an interview from jail Thursday, Jones, 44 — the fourth man to publicly accuse Murray of paying for sex — described himself as a crack-addicted teenage prostitute living on the streets in the 1980s when he met the man who would later become Seattle’s mayor.
Jones said he was in his midteens when his best friend, Delvonn Heckard, took him to a Capitol Hill apartment and introduced him to a man who paid teenage boys for sex.
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“It was awkward because I didn’t know this man,” Jones told reporters in a cramped visiting room in the jail at the King County Regional Justice Center in Kent. “ … But Delvonn said I could get some money.”
Following introductions, Jones said his friend went into Murray’s bedroom, while Jones and Murray had sex in the living room.
Afterward, Murray “asked if I wanted to go get some drugs,” Jones said. “And, I told him, ‘No, but I need some money.”
The mayor has denied Jones’ claim, which was first made, more generally, in a short, handwritten declaration filed Tuesday by Heckard’s attorneys in King County Superior Court. The document alleged Jones met Murray as a teenager and that Murray paid him for sex, but included no timeline about when those sexual encounters would have occurred. Julie Kays, one of the attorneys, said Wednesday that Jones was in his midteens at the time.
Heckard, 46, of Kent, sued the mayor last month, alleging Murray repeatedly raped him when paying him for sex as an underage teenager some 30 years ago. Only Heckard has filed a lawsuit.
Murray denies Heckard’s claims and has said he doesn’t know him. Murray also has denied similar allegations made by two other men, who have told The Seattle Times that Murray sexually abused them when they were teenagers in Portland. In a statement Wednesday, a spokesman for Murray also said the mayor doesn’t know Jones and called his claims “an ambush copycat false accusation.”
“Mayor Murray has never had inappropriate relations with any minor, and Mayor Murray has never paid for sex,” added the statement from Jeff Reading. Murray, a Democrat, has said the accusations are part of a political conspiracy.
Jones, a soft-spoken gay man dressed in a red, jail-issued smock, contradicted that Thursday, saying Murray paid him twice for oral sex.
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After the first encounter at Murray’s Capitol Hill apartment, Jones said, he “dated” Murray “one other time in a car.”
Murray had been out “cruising” and Jones recognized him, he said. Jones said Murray picked him up and drove him to the Volunteer Park area on Capitol Hill, where Murray again paid him for sex.
The next time he saw Murray, Jones said, was decades later, on television.
“He was running for mayor,” Jones said. “And I was like, this dude … I know him. In my mind, I was like, how come ain’t nobody saying anything about this guy? There’s a bunch of people that know him — and not just me and Delvonn — a bunch of people.”
Like the three other accusers, Jones acknowledges a serious criminal record and a history of illicit drug use. He said his cocaine addiction is the root cause for a criminal past that stretches to at least 1988. Among dozens of arrests, Jones has been picked up for theft, prostitution, assault and false reporting — a charge Jones said he sometimes got for falsely identifying himself to police.
His latest arrest, for cocaine possession, landed him in jail in late March. He’s now participating in a drug diversion program and trying to get clean, he said.
Jones said he never told anyone about his interaction with Murray because “Ed Murray was one of unfortunately many men I had done that with.”
Jones, who goes by his middle name, Lavon, said his mother abandoned him and his two siblings after she got hooked on crack herself. From the time he was about 12, in middle school, Jones said he sold sex to support himself until age 19. He became addicted to cocaine and repeatedly ran away from foster homes, he said.
Jones said he can’t remember exactly how old he was when he met Murray.
“I’ve been on drugs for so long, the years just run together,” he said. “ … I really didn’t have any special days growing up. My birthday was just like any other day.”
The age of legal consent in Washington is 16.
The first time Jones said he discussed Murray with anyone was in January or February, when he met his old friend, Heckard, for tea. Heckard told Jones he planned to sue the mayor, and the two talked about Heckard introducing Jones to Murray, he said.
Heckard’s lawsuit states that Heckard observed a different underage boy at Murray’s apartment on one other occasion, noting that Heckard didn’t know the boy. The suit doesn’t include descriptions about Jones or his alleged encounter with Murray.
Jones insisted Thursday he’s not lying for his friend, nor has he even decided if he’ll pursue legal action against Murray.
“Delvonn didn’t put me up to nothing,’ Jones said.