Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, a nationally famous champion of gay rights and progressive causes, has been accused by three men of having sex with them as children.
An unnamed man filed a child sex abuse lawsuit against the mayor on Thursday, alleging Murray “repeatedly criminally raped and molested” him when he was a homeless 15-year-old in the 1980s.
The unnamed plaintiff and two other men subsequently gave interviews to the Seattle Times – all telling similar stories about a politico in his late 20s and 30s, who befriended street kids, paid them and had his way with them.
“I don’t necessarily think that he destroyed my life,” Jeff Simpson told the newspaper after describing years of molestation from age 13 on. “But I believe a lot of the problems I have stemmed from this.”
Murray, a gay rights pioneer-turned-leading opponent of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, canceled a planned event after news of the lawsuit broke Thursday and held a brief news conference the next day.
The mayor, 61, took no questions, but dismissed the suit as accusations from a “troubled” man.
“These allegations, dating back to a period of more than 30 years, are simply not true,” he said, noting that he still plans to run for reelection later this year.
Raised in Seattle, Murray was a campaign manager for Washington’s first openly gay state senator in the 1980s, according to the Associated Press.
Toward the end of the decade, according to the lawsuit, he met a homeless, drug-addicted 15-year-old on a bus.
“Young and curious, D.H. encountered Ed Murray upon the bus and developed a friendly interaction,” reads the lawsuit.
This quickly turned into a regular negotiation, it reads, with the teen “willing to do whatever Mr. Murray asked for as little as $10 to $20.”
The plaintiff, now 46, was named only by initials in the lawsuit. But he gave an interview to the Seattle Times, recalling: “He’d be doing certain things, and I’d tell him to stop, and he wouldn’t stop.”
The lawsuit – filed because the statute of limitations precludes criminal charges after so many years – goes into explicit detail about the alleged sexual encounters between the two.
It describes the apartment’s floor plan. It also describes intimate physical descriptions of Murray that match the account of another accuser who did not sue: Lloyd Anderson.
Anderson told the Times that he met the future mayor as a teen in the early 1980s – when he and Simpson were both living in a group home in Portland.
Murray invited Anderson home and gave him $30 and some marijuana in return for oral sex, he told the newspaper.
Simpson told the Times he lived off-and-on with Murray for years, having sex regularly, and reported the molestation to his group home manager after an argument in 1984 – though nothing came of it.
Authorities pursued a sodomy investigation against Murray that same year, according to the Associated Press, but dropped it.
Anderson and Simpson took their accusations to the media and Washington lawmakers in 2008, the Times reported – when Murray was a state senator known for championing same-sex marriage and other gay rights causes.
The Times explained why it didn’t print the accusations until last week, when similar claims in the lawsuit prompted its reporters to seek the men out for interviews:
“Murray denied the accusations to reporters and hired an attorney, who worked to discredit the men largely based on their criminal pasts,” the paper reported. “Neither the Seattle Times nor other media publicly reported the allegations, and Murray’s political career continued to rise.”
He won the Seattle mayor’s office in 2012, wooing liberal voters with a promise to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
This year, Murray became a leading voice in the West coast resistance to Trump’s agenda – particularly the president’s promise to target undocumented immigrants.
His office did not immediately reply to The Washington Post, though Murray’s personal spokesman called the lawsuit “a shakedown effort within weeks of the campaign filing deadline,” according to the Associated Press.
The plaintiff, however, said he never asked Murray for money, and decided to sue in an effort to heal after breaking a long drug addiction.
“You don’t do no dirt to nobody and think you’re going to get away with it, you know,” he told the Times.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Avi Selk