Just recently, the Mayor of Seattle, Ed Murray (D), stated that he will be stepping down as mayor. His resignation comes amid accusations that he sexually abused his cousin.
Murray announced his decision to leave office in a statement released earlier this week. Specifically, he said, “I am announcing my resignation as mayor, effective at 5 PM tomorrow,” noting, “while the allegations against me are not true, it is important that my personal issues do not affect the ability of our city government to conduct the public’s business.”
The allegations that Murray is referring to involve claims of child sexual abuse from five different people. The most recent person to accuse him of sexual misconduct is Joseph Dyer, a 54-year-old dialysis technician and Air Force veteran. “There would be times when I would fake sleeping because I didn’t want him touching me,” recalled Dyer during a recent interview.
“That’s when he would molest me,” he added, noting, “my mother would be right there in the house, she’d be in the living room…watching TV, at that time it was probably ‘M*A*S*H.’ And my sisters would be in their rooms, sleeping. And I would be in my room, and he would be in there, molesting me.” In addition to Dyer, Maurice Lavon Jones, Lloyd Anderson, Jeff Simpson, and Delvonn Heckard have also accused Murray of sexually abusing them as children.
Murray, however, insists that he’s innocent and claims that the allegations are the result of an “ugly” feud between two families, which is why he refused to resign when the claims were first made. “I did not sexually abuse any of her children. There’s a larger back story between the Murrays and the Sottiles…There’s been numerous fights between our two families for many years, and much ugliness. I guess they see me down and out, and they want to finish me off,” he explained.
In addition to announcing his resignation, Murray also took some time to speak about some of his various accomplishments. “I’m proud of all that I have accomplished over my 19 years in the Legislature, where I was able to pass what were at the time the largest transportation packages in state history, a landmark gay civil rights bill, and a historic marriage equality bill,” wrote Murray.
“And I am proud of what we have accomplished together at the City during my time as mayor, passing a nation-leading $15 minimum wage, and major progressive housing affordability and police accountability legislation, as well as negotiating an agreement to build a world-class arena that I believe in time will bring the NHL and NBA to Seattle,” he continued, adding, “but it has also become clear to me that in light of the latest news reports it is best for the city if I step aside. To the people of this special city and to my dedicated staff, I am sorry for this painful situation.”
Before concluding, Murray noted, “in the interest of an orderly transition of power, Council President Bruce Harrell will become Mayor upon my resignation, and will decide within the following five days whether he will fill out the remainder of my term. During this time Director of Operations Fred Podesta has been tasked with leading the transition.”
Upon learning about Murray’s resignation, Harrell released a statement of his own. “I have a plan in place for a seamless transition in order for City operations to continue at the highest standard,” explained Harrell, who reasoned that “Seattleites deserve a government that holds their full confidence and trust.” When asked about the accusations against Murray, Harrell called them “unspeakable” and made it clear that the city’s criminal justice and social services systems have an obligation to address them “no matter how long ago they might have occurred.”
The abuse of children, sexual or otherwise, must not be tolerated. If the allegations against Murray are true, then he should be punished, regardless of when it occurred. Doing so would make it clear that people won’t be able to get away with harming children.