Mayor Ed Murray has responded to today's calls—including from one city council member—that he resign from office in light of new revelations related to allegations that he sexually abused teenagers in the 1980s. His message: "I'm not resigning."
Documents published by the Seattle Times on Sunday show that a child welfare investigator determined in 1984 that Murray had sexually abused his foster son. The records—the latest news related to allegations the Times first reported in April—were previously thought to be destroyed. In total, four men have accused Murray of abusing them when they were teens and Murray was in his 30s. One of those men filed a lawsuit against Murray this spring but later dropped it. Two others first made their allegations about a decade ago. One of those two men, Jeff Simpson, was Murray's foster son and is the subject of the investigation reported by the Times. Murray denies the allegations.
This morning, Council Member Lorena González called on Murray to "consider stepping down" and said the council should consider taking action if he was still in office by next Monday.
But several of her council colleagues expressed skepticism of pursuing the mayor's removal today.
"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," Murray said in a statement today. "Council action against me would similarly prevent the city’s business from continuing, only so I can again show these allegations from 30 years remain false." Read the full statement below:
Since the day several months ago when sexual abuse allegations surfaced against me in the media, I have been clear that those allegations are false. They remain just as false today as they were back then.
But I also know that the allegations about events more than 30 years ago have created a cloud of uncertainty in the public mind. That is why in May I announced that I would not seek reelection to the job that I love, serving as mayor of Seattle. As I said at the time, it was a very difficult and painful decision for me, but upon reflection I felt that putting the best interests of the city first meant that I had to announce that I would step aside and allow someone else to take leadership of City government at the end of my term.
Guiding my decisions is my continued focus on what is in the best interest of the city. I know that today a member of the Council has issued a statement calling on me to resign, and warning of action against me if I do not. I continue to believe such a course of action would not be in the city’s best interest. That is why I am not going to resign, and intend to complete the few remaining months of my term as mayor.
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. Last week we announced the opening of an innovative, 75-bed Navigation Center to help house homeless people suffering on our streets. Today we are announcing an agreement to expand the use of body cameras by Seattle Police, so we can increase transparency and accountability and strengthen the bonds of trust between police and our communities. And we have many more important announcements coming over the next few months.
Seattle needs steady, focused leadership over the next several months. We have a lot of work to do. 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. Council action against me would similarly prevent the City’s business from continuing, only so I can again show these allegations from 30 years remain false.