Mayor Ed Murray and his husband in 2015.
Mayor Ed Murray and his husband in 2015. City of Seattle

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Responding to The Stranger's reporting, the lawyer who founded the firm representing a man who says Mayor Ed Murray sexually abused him as a teenager, says he is "not 'anti-gay,'" despite his history of opposing same-sex marriage and donating to an anti-trans campaign. Jack Connelly, founder of Connelly Law Offices, also brushed aside accusations from the mayor's camp that the child sex abuse case is politically motivated, saying he has "no axe to grind against Ed Murray."

"I understand that this young man (the accuser) is gay and he is entirely welcome in our firm as have been numerous other clients who happen to be gay. I have represented a number of people who happen to be gay," Connelly wrote in an emailed statement.

Three men have said Murray abused them in the 1980s when they were teenagers and Murray was in his 20s and 30s. One of them, identified in court documents by his initials D.H., has filed a civil lawsuit against the mayor, as first reported by the Seattle Times last week. In response to the accusations, Murray's personal spokesperson Jeff Reading called the suit a "shakedown effort" and the two accusers not named in the lawsuit, one of whom came forward with his story a decade ago, "were promoted by extreme right-wing antigay activists in the midst of the marriage equality campaign."

Jack Connelly, the founder of the firm representing D.H., opposed gay marriage in 2012 and last year donated $25,000 to an anti-trans initiative. (His wife donated another $25,000.) The lawyer working directly on the case, Lincoln Beauregard, says he disagrees with Connelly's politics and "my client's intentions are not connected to any other political agenda."

In an email today, Connelly responded to the charge from Murray's team that the case may be politically motivated and to my characterization of him as having "anti-LGBTQ politics."

"Lincoln’s lawsuit has nothing to do with me, or with any political motivation," Connelly wrote.

When The Stranger asked Beauregard to arrange an interview with D.H., Beauregard declined but offered to take our questions by email and pass them on to his client. We sent a list of questions about D.H.'s experiences with Murray. The list included one question about whether D.H. has "any reservations about working with this firm given the anti-LGBT politics of the firm’s founder."

In response, Connelly himself answered the question, writing about himself in the third person. "Jack Connelly is not 'anti-gay,'" his answer began.

Jack Connelly is not “anti-gay.” Both he and the firm have represented people who are gay in lawsuits. As I’ve indicated to you, the Plaintiff in this case is gay. Jack Connelly is “anti abuse” and has represented 100’s of victims of sexual and physical abuse starting with the Redmond basketball program / Al Williams cases back in the early 90’s and then the OK Boys Ranch sexual abuse cases from 1994 to the present ( a number of those young men were gay ) as well as many, many additional abuse cases on behalf of adolescents and children since then. My donation to the earlier effort to put 1515 on the ballot stemmed from the position taken by the Washington Women’s Network that women should have a choice in who they are showering with, and the firm belief that citizens of this state should have the right to vote on this issue rather than having it passed as rulemaking by a commission. My wife, Angela, was President of the Washington Women’s Network. Despite the rhetoric associating me with the current attempt, I have not been involved in it.

Although Lincoln’s cases are not vetted by me, and I had nothing to do with the intake on this one, I would be wholly supportive of a case on behalf of a child who was abused. I have no axe to grind against Ed Murray and believe he has done some good things for Seattle. He should answer, however, for this child abuse and it appears that there were multiple cases where he was taking sexual advantage of young men for his own gratification. There was certainly a power imbalance being taken advantage of which is a hallmark of these types of cases.

Finally, with regard to the firm, I think review of our website would provide good insight into who we are. For the past 36 years I have represented victims of civil rights violations, governmental misconduct, wrongful death, child and adolescent sexual abuse, domestic violence, faulty products, medical negligence and other negligence. In 2006 Lincoln Beauregard and I left a larger firm and formed our own firm doing the same work. The attempt to somehow spin our firm or this lawsuit as politically motivated is misguided.

It's worth noting that Connelly defends his donation to the campaign for Initiative 1515, which would have regulated which public bathrooms and locker rooms trans people could use, by saying "women should have a choice in who they are showering with." As Sydney reported at the time, those types of arguments for I-1515 were undermined by data. Most sexual assault victims know their attacker, and trans women are more likely to be the survivors of sexual assault than the perpetrators.

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Meanwhile, Beauregard has subpoenaed Reading, Murray's personal spokesperson, asking him to provide documents and communications related to his statements that D.H.'s claim is politically motivated. In the subpoena, Beauregard requests texts and emails between Reading, Murray, and political consultant Sandeep Kaushik.

"We would like to explore Mr. Reading’s communications with Mayor Murray and the basis for this expeditious conclusion," Beauregard wrote in a letter to Murray's lawyer. "Obviously, the mayor’s campaign should not be disseminating information to the public about these allegations without proof and/or foundation."

Beauregard has asked to depose Reading on April 20. Reading declined to comment on the subpoena and said he had so far "only heard about it from reporters."