Seattle Mayor Ed Murray so far is holding onto office despite disturbing claims he sexually abused four teenagers, including his foster son, in the 1980s – though calls are growing for him to resign ahead of November’s election.
Former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and current mayoral candidate Jessyn Farrell have joined those demanding Murray step down following a blistering report in The Seattle Times. The article revealed an Oregon child-welfare investigator concluded in 1984 that Murray sexually abused his foster son Jeff Simpson when he was a teenager.
“The time for denials and victim blaming is over,” McGinn, a Democrat, tweeted Sunday.
Ferrell, a former Democratic state representative, initially had stood by Murray but said the new information reported by the Seattle newspaper “severely undermines our confidence in his ability to carry out the duties of his office.”
Murray, a Democrat and the city’s first openly gay mayor, has strongly denied the allegations against him and said they are rooted in offensive stereotypes of homosexual men.
No criminal charges were ever filed in connection with the May 20, 1984 Oregon Child Protective Services report. The document recommended that “under no circumstances should Mr. Murray be certified” as a foster parent in the future, The Seattle Times reported Sunday.
The boys who claimed they were sexually abused ranged in age from 13 to about 15 years old, according to the missive.
“In the professional judgment of this caseworker who has interviewed numerous children of all ages and of all levels of emotional disturbance regarding sexual abuse, Jeff Simpson (Murray’s foster child) has been sexually abused by …Edward Murray,” caseworker Judy Butler wrote, according to the paper.
In a written response, Murray said Butler never interviewed him and that neither he nor his attorney had been informed of the findings at the time. He added that the allegations were investigated and that prosecutors never brought charges against him.
“That she believed Jeff’s claims at the time and advocated on his behalf is painful to see, but does not change the fact that, based on the totality of the evidence that was collected, the District Attorney declined to file charges,” Murray said.
However, the Times reported that records reveal that the county prosecutor declined to pursue charges because of Simpson’s “troubled personality,” not because they thought he was lying about the abuse.
Murray ended his formal bid for re-election in June following the allegations. The 62-year-old mayor has been in office since October 2014 but opted not to run again after saying the controversy had become too much of a distraction.
There had been speculation he would re-launch his bid as a write-in candidate following a pair of independent polls showing support for the current mayor but late last week, Murray said he would stay out of the crowded 21-person race.
Murray has endorsed candidate Jenny Durkan. Durkan has said in the past that Seattle voters are discerning and could see Murray had been a good mayor despite the claims of sexual abuse.
Calls to Durkan were not immediately returned.