Blog

Gay, Democratic Mayor of Seattle Sued for Alleged Sexual Abuse of Boy

Michael W. Chapman
By Michael W. Chapman | April 17, 2017 | 7:07 PM EDT

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (D).

(Screenshot.) 

Ed Murray, the Democratic mayor of Seattle, Wash., who is gay and married to another man, is being sued by a man, now in his late 40s, who claims Murray allegedly "raped and molested" him in Seattle when he was 15 years old, which is below the age of consent (16) in Washington.

In addition, two other men, Jeff Simpson and Lloyd Anderson, have come forward and said Murray also allegedly sexually abused them in the 1980s, according to the Seattle Times

Simpson, now 49, reported Murray to police and a social worker when the abuse against him allegedly occurred in the early 1980s in Portland, Oregon. Accoding to the Seattle Times, there is a "case fact sheet" entry from the Multnomah County District Attorney's database that "indicates the DA's office considered but rejected a felony third-degree sodomy charge, a crime against children, that identified Murray in May 1984."

Mayor Ed Murray, 61, has said the allegations, which date back more than 30 years, "are simply not true."  All three of the accusers reportedly have criminal records involving drug abuse and other crimes. 

The statute of limitations in Washington on the crime of child rape expired many years ago. However, victims can file civil lawsuits years later dependent upon when they discover the abuse affected their lives or behavior. The legal rules for that situation are detailed in the lawsuit, which was filed on April 6 in King County Superior Court of the State of Washington. 

In the complaint, the accuser, identified as "D.H.," says that when he was 15 he often rode the Metro Bus in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle. At the time, he was a high school dropout, used drugs, and his parents also allegedly used drugs. On one occasion, D.H. apparently met Ed Murray on the bus and "developed a friendly interaction."

"Mr. Murray was approximately age 32  at the time, and propositioned D.H. for private visits at his Capitol Hill apartment," reads the lawsuit. "D.H. recalls Mr. Murray's old phone number [redacted]. D.H. recalls that as you enter the apartment, the bathroom is to the right, and across from the bathroom was the sole bedroom." 

"The interaction turned sexual," reads the lawsuit. "Prior to the sex acts, Mr. Murray asked D.H. his age and he responded truthfully, age 15. Mr. Murray propositioned D.H. in the form of sex acts for money -- a form of child prostitution. Addicted to drugs at the time, D.H. was willing to do whatever Mr. Murray asked for as little as $10-$20 dollars."

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and his husband, Michael Shiosaki, the director of planning

and development for the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department. 

The lawsuit further states, "the sex acts included various forms of intercourse -- anal, of course -- and oral sex acts, with Mr. Murray always on the receiving end of oral interactions. At times, the sex turned aggressive, beyond a point to which D.H. was comfortable and/or felt that to which he had agreed. During the revlevant timeframe back in 1986, D.H. recalls discussing the sexual encounters with his friend, F.W." 

D.H. also claims that Murray has a distinct mark on his genitalia, a "small bump," and allegedly preferred D.H. "not to bathe prior to sex." Murray's attorney, Bob Sulkin, publicly stated last week that a doctor's examination of Murray showed no "bump" or mole as alleged by the accuser. 

The lawsuit asserts that D.H. decided to come forward with his claim only since his father's recent death. D.H. sought counseling at Sound Mental Health and, after that experience, decided to file the lawsuit "in an attempt at accountability, and to hopefully give courage for other potential victims to come forward and speak out."

"According to D.H., he and Mr. Murray have had a few brief telephone interactions over the years," reads the lawsuit. "D.H. would be shocked if Mr. Murray does not recall exactly who he was.... D.H. is disturbed that Mr. Murray maintains a position of trust and authority, and believes that the public has a right to full information when a trusted official exploits a child."

The lawsuit is seeking "general damages" and "special damages" to be "proven at trial," as well as "reasonable" attorney's fees. 

Jeff Simpson, who has publicly accused Mayor Murray of allegedly sexually abusing him when he was 13 years old, is not part of the lawsuit and, he claims, apparently is not seeking a financial settlement. 

Simpson, along with Lloyd Anderson, claims he first met Ed Murray at the Parry Center for Children in Portland, Ore., where he allegedly did some work while he was in college. Murray graduated from the University of Portland in 1980 with a degree in sociology. 

Jeff Simpson, who claims that, at age 13, he allegedly was sexually abused by Ed Murray.

(Screenshot: KIRO 7)

The Parry Center is now run by Trillium Family Services, which provides mental health care to children. (Trillium was not in existence in the 1980s.) According to Trillium's President Kim Scott, the organization "was able to substantiate that Murray spent time at the center," reported the Portland Mercury newspaper. 

"Trillium dug up a 'small card' that suggests he worked there from 1977 to 1980, 'but no indication about job title, specific roles, or responsibilities are listed, nor are any other employment-related specifics,' Scott wrote," as reported the Portland Mercury. “'Trillium is currently working to validate this record.'”

The newspaper did find the record about Murray from the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office database. "It shows Murray was investigated for sodomy in the third degree, a felony, in May of 1984, and that prosecutors declined to file charges at the time," reported the Portland Mercury

Simpson says that Murray allegedly started to abuse him in 1980 after he had left the Parry Center and was living in a group home. As detailed in the Seattle Times, Simpson claims he was allowed to spend the night at Murray's apartment and, as they were watching TV, Murray, then in his 20s, allegedly rubbed Simpson's leg and, at some point, supposedly told him that he wanted to take the 13-year-old boy's clothes off and perform oral sex on him. 

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signs an executive order in March 2015 banning official City of Seattle travel by employees to

Indiana, which had then passed a bill protecting religious freedom. LGBT activists and some corporate leaders decried

Indiana's legislation as potentially discriminatory against gays, lesbians and transgender people.  (Photo: City of Seattle)

Simpson reportedly said no to Murray several times. "I started crying...and we stopped," said Simpson. The next day Murray allegedly took Simpson back to the group home and told him not to say anything. 

Several months later, Murray allegedly abused Simpson again and this apparently started a cycle of abuse that lasted several years, reported the Seattle Times

Anderson, who met Simpson at the Parry Center, recounted a similar story of alleged sexual abuse. In a telephone interview, "Anderson said he left the center at age 14 or 15, to live with a Portland-area couple. He cried when recounting that [Jeff] Simpson later visited him and confided he’d been having a sexual relationship with Murray," reported the Seattle Times

Anderson also recounted that he allegedly ran into Ed Murray by chance in Portland and that Murray apparently invited him to his apartment. Later, Murray allegedly offered to pay Anderson $30 for oral sex and to buy some marijuana, to which Anderson agreed. 

"Anderson said he met Murray several times at his apartment for sex after that," reported the Seattle Times. "The encounters continued until Anderson was about 17, he said. Murray paid him from $15 to $30 during each encounter, Anderson said. 'Look, the guy took advantage of my situation,' said Anderson, who now lives in Florida. 'I was young, I was homeless and doing drugs and everything.'"

The age of consent in Oregon, then and now, is 18. 

Ed Murray moved from Portland to Seattle in the mid-1980s. In Seattle, he started off doing paralegal work and then "immersed himself in local politics," according to Governing.com

He worked in the Capitol Hill area early on and ran a gay PAC called the Privacy Fund. After his state legislator friend Cal Anderson died of AIDS in 1995, "a House seat opened up and Murray was appointed to it," reported Governing. Murray served in the Washington House of Representatives from 1995 to 2007, and in the Washington Senate from 2007 to 2013. He was elected mayor of Seattle in 2013 and assumed office in January 2014. He is up for re-election this fall. 

Seattle, Washington. 

As Governing reported, Democrat Ed Murrray is "one of America's most progressive mayors." He has been a strong defender of LGBT issues, including same-sex marriage, and is well known for opposing President Donald Trump on policies such as immigration and the environment. 

In a statement given to KIRO 7 in Seattle, Mayor Murray's spokesman, Jeff Reading, said: “These false accusations are intended to damage a prominent elected official who has been a defender of vulnerable populations for decades. It is not a coincidence that this shakedown effort comes within weeks of the campaign filing deadline.

"These unsubstantiated assertions, dating back three decades, are categorically false. Mayor Murray has never engaged in an inappropriate relationship with any minor….

"The two older accusations were promoted by extreme right-wing antigay activists in the midst of the marriage equality campaign, and were thoroughly investigated and dismissed by both law enforcement authorities and the media. Mayor Murray will vigorously fight these allegations in court."

In an April 13 newspaper editorial, the Seattle Times said Mayor Murray "has yet to answer specific questions" about the sexual abuse allegations and that "he should not run for re-election."

Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman