Seattle's LGBTQ Commission is joining the call for Mayor Ed Murray to resign from office following new information about allegations that he sexually abused teenagers in the 1980s.
Four men have accused Murray of sexually abusing them when they were teenagers. One of those four, Delvonn Heckard, filed a civil suit against Murray, which he later dropped. Another, Jeff Simpson, Murray's former foster son, first came forward with his allegations a decade ago. Recently, the Seattle Times reported on documents that show that a child welfare investigator determined in 1984 that Murray sexually abused Simpson. Murray has repeatedly denied the allegations. In that denial, he has claimed anti-gay political motivation and questioned the credibility of his accusers based on their criminal histories.
"Claiming homophobic intent to shield yourself from accountability and erase the experiences of survivors of sexual abuse is silencing, manipulative, and morally repugnant," the commission wrote in a letter to Murray today.
"In addition to the evidence regarding deeply grave sexual abuse," the commission continues, "we believe your response has been harmful and inappropriate, particularly to LGBTQ individuals, survivors of sexual abuse, and individuals with criminal history. You have responded to the allegations by invoking the accusers’ criminal records as proof of their unreliability. We affirm that survivors of sexual assault must be believed and honored, no matter their identity or social standing."
The commission makes policy recommendations to city officials and some of its members were appointed by the mayor himself.
"Noting both that you are the first openly gay Mayor of Seattle, and that many individuals on the Seattle LGBTQ Commission were appointed by you, we do not take our decision to call for your resignation lightly," the group wrote. "While some may say that you should be given the opportunity to serve out the remainder of your term, we feel that would be inadequate. With both moral and pragmatic motivations, we feel we must call for your resignation.
Continuing in your position as Mayor sends a clear, devastating message to current and past survivors of sexual assault (including young people who may currently be experiencing abusive situations), that their pain and experiences are less important than maintaining the status quo; staying in office distracts Seattle from critical matters that require our full energy now—such as addressing the homelessness crisis; remaining in office erodes our civil institutions and our commitment to justice."