Candidates Mike McGinn, Jessyn Farrell and Cary Moon are calling for Murray to resign after The Times revealed that an Oregon child-welfare investigator concluded in 1984 Murray sexually abused Jeff Simpson when he was a teenager.
Former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and fellow mayoral candidates Cary Moon, Jessyn Farrell and Nikkita Oliver are calling for Mayor Ed Murray to resign after The Seattle Times reported new information Sunday about allegations that Murray sexually abused his foster son in the 1980s.
Two other leading candidates, Jenny Durkan and Bob Hasegawa, are stopping short of telling Murray to step down.
New records, previously thought destroyed, show that an Oregon child-welfare investigator concluded in 1984 Murray sexually abused Jeff Simpson when he was a teenager.
Murray adamantly denies the allegations and in an interview last week underscored that prosecutors had decided decades ago not to charge him.
In a statement Monday, he said he would not resign.
“I continue to believe such a course of action would not be in the city’s best interest,” Murray said. “My administration and I continue to govern the city effectively, and I am proud that we continue to deliver results that will improve the lives of the people of Seattle.”
He added, “Establishing an effective transition between administrations takes months of careful planning and preparation – work that I and my team have already begun. We do not need the sort of abrupt and destabilizing transition that a resignation would create, likely bringing the City’s business to a grinding halt.”
On Sunday, McGinn tweeted, “The time for denials and victim blaming is over,” echoing his May 9 call for Murray’s resignation.
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Also on May 9, Moon said in a statement, ” I believe it’s in the best interests of everyone — especially the many survivors of sexual assault re-experiencing their own traumas — for the Mayor to step down now so that City Hall can get back to work.”
On Sunday, reacting to the new information in The Times, Farrell released a statement saying the mayor should resign. The information “severely undermines our confidence in his ability to carry out the duties of his office,” the former state representative said.
Oliver issued a statement Monday.
“The findings of the Oregon Child Protective Services against Ed Murray speak for themselves … Seattle voters would have likely voted differently if they had known this information at the time,” she said.
“Of course he should step down,” Oliver added. “But it’s important that Murray stepping down not be a hollow gesture to make us feel better while doing nothing substantive to address the failures in systems that put children in jeopardy of predation – including thousands of homeless children in Seattle – every single day.”
She concluded, “At this point, if he doesn’t hold himself to account, the burden falls on other elected officials and the city council.”
The Times first published details about Simpson’s claims in April when a Kent man, Delvonn Heckard, filed a lawsuit against Murray. He said Murray had sexually abused him in the 1980s in Seattle, when he was a teenager.
Heckard withdrew his lawsuit in June, saying he intends to refile after Murray leaves office.
After the lawsuit was dropped, Farrell said she was “shocked” to hear the news.
“My heart goes out to Mayor Murray, [his husband] Michael, their families and friends for the pain of the past several weeks,” she said at the time.
“As a city, we must reject the politics of personal destruction,” she added. “Our voters — and our elected leaders — deserve better.”
In a statement Monday morning, candidate Jenny Durkan said, “I spoke briefly with Mayor Murray last night. I told him I was very troubled.”
She added, “While I believe Ed Murray has been a good mayor, I encouraged him to reflect deeply about whether he could continue to lead and what is in the best interests of the city.”
Later Monday, in a KUOW radio interview, Durkan was asked whether she was calling on Murray to resign.
“No one knows what happened 30 years ago,” she said, adding, “I do think facts matter a lot, so I do not believe any of us are in a position to judge what happened.”
Murray endorsed Durkan last month.
When asked about accepting the endorsement of someone whom several men had accused of sexual abuse, Durkan said Seattle voters were discerning. She said they would be able to observe that Murray has been a good mayor, separate from the claims.
At the time, Durkan did not directly answer whether she believed Murray or believed his accusers. She said her focus was on issues facing the city and on the mayor’s work while in office.
Hasegawa, a state senator, described the new information about Murray as “deeply disturbing.” But he said, “We are also a city and nation of laws, where everyone deserves due process.”
He added, “I hope that whatever decision Ed Murray makes is done first and foremost with the best interest of the people of Seattle in mind.”
The primary election is Aug. 1, and ballots were mailed to voters last week.
Seattle Times staff reporter Daniel Beekman contributed to this report.