On Monday, we published excerpts from the e-mails city employees sent to Mayor Ed Murray's office after he was accused of sexually abusing four men as teenagers. With the exception of one note, all supported the mayor, and several expressed doubt about the trustworthiness of the accusers.
Between April 6, the day the Seattle Times first broke the news that the mayor had been accused of child sex abuse, and July 31, after which the same paper had published excerpts from an Oregon Child Protective Services report concluding Murray had abused his foster son, the Mayor's Office received about 400 constituent messages about the allegations. Seventy-three of these messages explicitly asked the mayor to resign, some on the first day of the news, and at least 52 offered support for Murray.
Plenty of messages contained invectives for the mayor, some linking his stance on other issues—gay rights, sanctuary cities, safe injection sites—to the allegations against him. We're not going to publish those. And we're not going to publish any that contain homophobic rhetoric. (The story got significant coverage on right-wing national media sites, which may have motivated some of that.)
Instead, here are excerpts from a sample of messages the Mayor's Office received, some from supporters, some from self-identified survivors of sexual abuse, some from people who minimized the allegations, and some from those who asked him to step down. As with the emails from city employees, we are not publishing the names of senders (with one exception: a message from Andy Rheaume, the Mayor of Bothell.)
Mr. Mayor,You have proved to many, (and me included), that you are a thoughtful, compassionate, genuine, honest man. This latest attack on you comes at a very suspicious time, considering all that you are standing up for, and always have. I trust you will not think it is believable to the vast majority of people, because it simply is not. Blessings on your head and thank you for all you have done, are doing and hopefully will continue to do for us.
I am saddened by the allegations. I work in community mental health and I really liked your message/work and to learn of this just saddens and disappoints me to my core.
Dear Mayor Murray, my husband was falsely accused of something similar a few years ago. Hang in there. Usually the accuser is emotionally messed up and someone encouraged him to accuse you for publicity's sake. Most Seattle citizens think very highly of you. You probably just pushed someone's buttons and they think this will derail you. Don't listen to them. Stay strong and keep standing up for Seattle!
Mr Mayor, I know you are innocent of these charges. It does not surprise me in the least that these allegations have been made just before primary voting is to begin. I am, like you, a gay man. All my life, I have lived with the stereotype bigots make when they suggest gay men are in some form or fashion sexually predatory. We disagree on a few policy issues here and there. I am much closer to Council Member Sawant in my political beliefs. However, I fully support you, because I know that the only way life will get any better for the LGBT community is if we see more of us in public service.I remember when you ran for Mayor the first time. I lived in Olympia, and cheered you on from afar. I hoped (and still do) that you will someday be elected Governor. If you decide to stand and fight, I would like to make a small donation to help you win re-election. This is not an easy decision to make. You and your family will no doubt be placed in uncomfortable situations by the media. It is fully understandable if you decline this opportunity. I am hoping you will stay in the fight, however. You are a good man, Mayor Murray. We need you in City Hall.
I am shocked with the accuarations brought against you. You need to resign.
Mayor Murray, I want you to continue to hold your head up and continue to do the good work you been doing for our state. What I don't understand is why is this such a big deal especially when our President Trump, head of the United States is the Biggest Sexual Molester and Predator in mankind who many people in the world closed their eyes and ear to. You deserve so much better than this. I hope that you will win the election again and put this all behind you. May God grant you the peace you need during this difficult time for you and your spouse.
I am outraged by the attack on you. It's very upsetting to me.It is a consequence of the good work you are doing—obviously you are being targeted because you are "good," not "bad."I think the "alt-right" is threatened by some of your progressive stands. Why else is this happening now? What other group would stoop so low? (I can't imagine that the folks running against you would do such a thing.) I predict that as time goes on more of our good, hard-working elected officials will be targeted. Then you can at least fight this together. Small favors, I know. 😩😩
This is to wish you the best of luck in you reelection bid. I understand that some unscruppulous person is making obviously fake claims about you in order to change the results of the election. You have been a strong leader and an asset to the people of Seattle, so I am sure these false claims will quickly find their place in the garbage where they belong. I know the people of Seattle are looking forward to another term in the mayor's office. You are one of the good ones.
Mayor, Hang in there! We believe in you. So terrible that bad accusations will be remembered as true, even after the are proved groundless.
Whatever happens remember two things: you have many friends who will not desert you, and "this, too, shall pass."
Please step aside until the lawsuit against you is resolved. Put the city first, and yourself second. These are serious charges whether they are true or not, and your defense against you will distract you from important city business.
Ed, Know that my family and I are with you all the way and vocally expressing our total support for you to all our neighbors. The attacks against you are hideous and unfounded. If you need any additional support from me please reach out.
Dear Mayor Murray, If you have been wrongly accused, my heart goes out to you. It would make these accusations horribly cruel and damaging. If you on the other hand, did have a relationship of a sexual nature - consensual or not/ paid sex - you really should just come forth. The 80's were very hard for gay's and the HIV scare was very real - we forget just how difficult it was. Most of us have something that we are not proud of in our past if we are honest, but the big problem is that as mayor, you hold a position of great trust and you owe it to Seattle to be absolutely honest. I really hope that there is no substance to all of this - for you, for the hard work done towards acceptance of LGBTQ, and all of us in Seattle.
Ed - go, please. This situation you are in is too much of a distraction. It's kind of difficult to answer children's questions about your 'junk' being reported on the radio. Really dude? You want us to hear about your cock? GO AWAY! You're a disaster......leave today!!!
I'm sorry you are being attacked again and find it especially sad they are trying to accuse you of hurting a child. They want to silence you and you're good work. THANK YOU for fighting! As a bisexual woman I'm tired of the alt right saying we are a danger to children. Even in liberal Seattle I meet people that still believe these lies and it breaks my heart. So thank you so much for being such a great mayor! I'm so proud to live in our state especially right now and you are a big reason I feel that way. People like you help me remember there are good people in office and you give me hope! Harvey would be proud!
In light of the fact that now three separate people have made serious allegations of sexual abuse against you, I have loss all confidence in you as our leader. Considering that all situations have more than one version of events it is abundantly clear that you have a serious lack of judgement at best. At worst, you are a sexual criminal. Either way you are an embarrassing distraction to our city.Do the right thing by your victims, your family and city. Your political career is over. Please don't drag Seattle into the mud as you come to realize this inevitable truth.
You need to step down. To continue insisting that you are innocent is to continue to assault your victims and all victims of sexual abuse. Your attorney spews bullshit like "why did they wait so long to come forward" when that is typical with victims of sexual abuse.
For the sake of Seattle, please resign now.
As Mayor you need to answer to the press. This is not a private matter, the public needs confidence that inquiry can be made and WE can gauge your honesty in the matter. Staging a paid advocate to shield you from questions and utilizing the editorial section in a booster publication to push your story is inadequate.The city council, afraid of the consequences if you are truly innocent, has passed the buck to a civil case that is tangential to the court of public opinion. We need to have confidence in your character. Because of the city council's cowardice the press needs access to question the veracity of your story. Grant the press access or resign.
Being a drug addict is a disease and not a crime. Maybe things that happen to these men made them what they are today. Think about it.
I believe you. You are the victim of a witch hunt. Period. I sincerely believe that you are being targeted simply because you are gay.
With all due respect, I don't feel you should be trashing an accuser. You want to bring up their dirt? Do it in the privacy of a court room. We don't need to hear about your private parts. The more you do this.. the more I really wonder. Right now.. I have lost all respect for you.. does not matter is your guilty or innocest at this point. It how you handled it. Trashing brings out the wrong message. There are people who are suffering out there.. who this sort of thing has happened to. You have no idea, how much courage it take to come out and talk about it. Now.. they see what your doing.. and they will be less apt to come out . I think what you are doing , is very, very wrong. With that said.. You have forever lost my vote and respect.You are not my Mayor anymore.. stay away from kids, and please step down and clean up your affairs.
It is time for you to resign. Whether or not you are guilty of the pedophilia charges against you, you have been irreparably damaged by them. Your ability to do the work of the City is severely compromised. The issue of pedophilia will be the elephant in every room you enter. If you care about the City of Seattle, as opposed to your own personal interests, you will resign now.
Dear Mayor Murray, Just to let you know I'm in your corner and would be willing to volunteer in your re-election campaign. The allegations seem to be politically (profit?) motivated which make them dubious at best. I am a Gay man and, no, I'm not just rallying around "us"; I, and a number of my friends, all believe the allegations are spurious and profit motivated by those making the charges. Hang in there!
Dear Mr. Mayor, I support you through this trying time. I have seen the news reports on King5 and heard how you and your husband are dealing with this issue. I remember what gay life was like in the 80's, much of what you are being accused of happened on a regular basis, by both gay and straight men. The gay's in the 80's were considered the underbelly of society, things were over looked and people got away with much. Because this behavior was so typical of that time (I am not saying you did this, I believe you) I do however wonder about the timing? You have been in public office for decades. These men could have come out and said something or made their voices heard the day you took office of Mayor. But alas, these voices are only heard after the City of Seattle sues the US Government regarding Sanctuary City's and the rights of the people they are protecting and States Rights, something the religious right has been screaming about for years. I don t know who the attorney is behind this suit, but it smells of Carl Rove style mud slinging and lets disgrace and distract to deflect the truth. Stand proud as you are, Know I support you and am telling all others I know to support you through this. Its Trumps government trying to get you to back off. Keep up the good work Mr. Mayor, you are the best mayor we have had since Norm Rice. You deserve to be Governor.
Please step down for the sake of our city.
Dear mayor Murray, This is a quick note to you as I know you are busy. The epidemic of false abuse accusations, which you can understand, does need to be cured. I hope you can set up a task force to study all the falsely accused. It is the perfect time to create one.
Resign Ed. Bruce Harrell can handle the job, and there are plenty of capable candidates running this year. You are no longer wanted in the mayor's office. You embarrass us.
Your credibility has been compromised not only by recent sexual abuse/pedophile allegations against you - but also by the way you responded to those allegations by villainizing a former alleged victim because of his criminal record - after officially defending the rights of individuals with criminal records. You are a hypocrite, and I have always suspected that your liberal platform has been largely self-serving. Now I feel my suspicions are confirmed. The city of Seattle deserves a far better leader, and I hope you will do the right thing and NOT run for re-election
When will we see your resignation Mr. Murray? You are a disgrace to Seattle and to the whole region. Please resign immediately and save yourself and our region of further embarrassment. Thank you.
With all due respect Mr. Mayor, I'm deeply disturbed with how you are handling your private affairs. It seems like your just blowing it off. Your low attacks on your accusers is just taking the low road. You have no idea how it affects people out there who have been through abuse. Your sending the wrong message. If your innocent of these charges.. show us. The only thing you do is attack.Showing these men has records, drug abuse ect.. is NOT convincing me that that it did not happen. Actually... quite the opposite... desperate kids.. do desperate things. I feel you took advatage of their situation. I will not be voting for you next time around. You disgust me . Now you have 4 men.. am just not sure about your innocents anymore.Take the high road.. stop attacking , take a break, and clean up your affairs.
Mayor Ed Murray, I support you during this difficult time. Seattle can be very outspoken, especially when it comes to news, social media, the public domain, and really, to perfect strangers. It's time for everyone concerned and the city to quiet down and get serious about what's really going on. Past mistakes come back to haunt us. But, who on this earth is perfect? I personally understand what it's like to experience a relational crisis. Good luck, accept my heartfelt support, I think that Seattle is being too outspoken, and for goodness sakes, freedom of speech in this country is too often abused, especially on Facebook.
Dear Mayor Murray,When the news broke about your accusers, I was sick and sad for you and for Seattle. I am sure this has been a terrible strain for you, and I have been praying for you. It is not my concern whether the accusations are true or false. My focus is on the tremendous efforts you have made to serve this city and to safeguard social justice in so many ways. You have demonstrated great courage, intelligence, and energy, all of which I hope will serve you well during the difficult times ahead. Whatever the truth is, you are a very good man whose Catholic faith has informed your thinking and your actions. Remember, during the ordeal ahead, the rich opportunities your faith provides for self-examination, reconciliation, resurrection, and redemption. There's not a person alive at your age of sixty-plus who has no need of those healing gifts. Your decision to step out of the running for re-election took love for your city, knowing that many of us would be agonizing along with you over the scandal instead of focusing on the broader issues our city must address. Another unselfish, courageous step on your part. Thank you for all your work, and please keep the faith. I wish you well.
Mayor Murray, As a fellow Mayor, I want to let you know how proud I am of you and your accomplishments. I think it's horrible that you have an attack underway that I have no doubt is campaign season driven. You are an upstanding member of our community and I wish nothing but the best for you. Thank you for sacrificing yourself and your family for our region. That is what we do when we hold office with the community's interests closest to our heart.
Mayor of Bothell
(When asked for comment about this message, Rheaume wrote: "Yes, I did write that note. I try to reach out to other mayors in the area when they are in a difficult situation. Other mayors have reached out to me in difficult situations, like when downtown Bothell caught fire, and it meant a lot to me. I sent the note after the first accusation which at face value seemed politically driven. In light of the additional accusers that have come forward I think mayor Murray did the right thing for Seattle by resigning.")
Dear Mayor Murray, Yesterday afternoon when I left a note and a rose for you at your office, the very friendly person working at the front desk was so gracious. I was really impressed by her courtesy. I want to be sure that you know why I gave you a white rose: my florist told me that it represents innocence. When you were in the House of Representatives and I'd had a difficult encounter with a state agency, you came to my aid. I was really grateful for your outreach.Thank you very much for the ingenuity and courage you bring to your work, Mayor Murray. The people of Seattle and the entire State of Washington are indebted to you for your loyal service.
Dear Mayor Murray, I have no idea what happened in your personal life so many years ago, but I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for everything you've done for the City of Seattle during your years as our mayor. I truly believe that you have Seattle's best interest at heart. Although I haven't agreed with every decision, I have watched you make so many improvements. I hate to see our city lose this momentum you have started. I would have voted for you again in a heart beat. As you move forward, please remember all the good parts. Don't let the bastards get you down!!
Mayor Murray, you were slandered by a vicious campaign to keep you from running again. I am so sorry and wish that jerk of a lawyer could be taken down. Your speech today was excellent and we are so lucky to have you until December. BTW I was born and raised in West Seattle. Now living in Shoreline. I hope you will keep giving of your great talents doing public service after your term ends. The best to you and your family.
Dear Edward Murray, I want to thank you for being our mayor. I was saddened when the Seattle Times felt it necessary to 'expose' what they thought to be truth - I read only a little bit of what was said and then stopped - it seemed too fishy to me that when you run for re-election all this comes out by a Republican leaning newspaper. For me, it's too many worms to delve into and spend time finding out what is true and not .... especially given all that is happening with Trump and his people's agenda's...and even if there is some truth - it was such a long time ago - when you were younger - why aren't they looking at what you are doing now! My gut feels the timing is just all too witch-hunt like. I admire your grace in how your are handling stepping down. I only read a little of what you were doing in the beginning and felt like our city was now going to be in professional hands...and I respected you these past few months since Trump became elected - I felt proud of your stance and that you and your team were there - with a city and it's problems and how it was standing up to Trump and his team. Thank you are small words for the big appreciation my heart has felt - my only wish now is that someone as competent as you can by mayor of our city. I'm not really very political but of course now I feel I must become clear on the many issues to be able to articulate what my gut feeling of utter horror are!
Resign, you have embarrassed the City of Seattle and the community with your actions.
While I'm sad that you won't be pursing another term in office, I just wanted to drop a note and tell you congratulations on having this frivolous, crap lawsuit withdrawn. Anyone that has followed this closely knows that it was baseless. I hope that Lincoln Beauregard gets punished in some way. If nothing else, I hope he stubs his toe and gets a terrific case of IBS. Take care Mayor, and hope that you will do more to help out this amazing area.
Dear Mayor Murray The last time I wrote you was to voice my support to you in your fight against politically motivated slander. Yesterday you were vindicated! I never had my doubts nor did any of my friends. I am a straight man who sees how crooked this whole event was and is. I appreciate your dedication and self sacrifice for this city. Best to you and your family going forward.
Please don't run for re-election. Although you say you are vindicated because the sex predator lawsuit against you was dropped, the words "sex predator" will linger in people's minds. And your accuser is going to re-file anyway, so you're not vindicated. Guilty or not, this thing is not going away, and Seattle deserves far better than to have their mayor distracted by a newly filed sex allegation suit. Please just quietly end your current term (if you must) and don't run for re-election. I'm weary of all this. Please just go away.
I understand that you are contemplating running for mayor as a write-in candidate. I also understand that you are polling Seattle residents to ask if you should run. I am writing to respectfully ask that you do NOT run as a write-in candidate.
I am an AP Government teacher for SPS and I do not want to have to explain why you are still in office when school starts in September.Actions like yours are why young people today are increasingly cynical about politics and government. Do the right thing and resign.
Stand strong Mayor Murray. I believe in you and stand behind you. Allegations do NOT equal guilt.You have done a great job for this city, please continue to do so and stand tall in the midst of the storm
Hello Mayor Murray, I am a constituent who has voted for you in the past. I am extremely troubled by recent records released by Oregon Child Protective Services and would not have voted for you if this information had been public during your mayoral campaign. I work with mentally ill youth and young adults and it sickens me to think that there is even a possibility that our mayor participated in exploiting young people like those I work with. The way that you have treated this issue makes me ashamed to be a Seattleite. I will be lobbying the city council to hold you accountable, as you seem determined to finish your term and continue to deny these allegations and discredit your accusers using their mental health histories against them. I am asking you to resign from office immediately.
Mayor Murray, In light of the report that you were found to have abused your foster child in the 1980's, I am asking that you do the right thing and resign your position as mayor of Seattle immediately. I know you don't think that is the best for Seattle, but as a survivor of rape and other violence in my life, the thought of you continuing to represent our city is unacceptable. You chose to harm a vulnerable young man in horrendous ways. I know this happened decades ago and perhaps you are a different man now, but you do not deserve a position of leadership and honor any longer, let alone to collect a city paycheck.Being raped destroyed my life and stripped me of the hopes and dreams I had developed in my youth and I continue to struggle 20 years later to leave that horror behind. I can't imagine if I had to see my rapist in such a position in society as mayor of a major city - it would set me back too far to think about.
Mayor Ed Murray, I do not know all the details of the allegations made against you, but I do know this: you did a great job as mayor, and I was living in the city of Seattle for part of that time. Listen to me. My stance is that love is a funny thing. You fall in love with a minor, though, and it is statutory rape. But who on this earth has never committed a crime, including parking tickets, speeding tickets, unsolved mysteries, and the ones who escape charges because of the statute of limitations? Ex-loves become upset when you break up, because hate is only the other side of the blade of love, after all. Let's resolve this. The point of the LGTBQ movement was that we need love, not hate, and love wins. Therefore, let us forgive each other, even though you may be guilty.
Mayor Murray, Any person in this situation would take an administrative leave. You are harming Seattle. I voted for you and I'm sad to see how you are handling this situation. Step down for the sake of Seattle.
Dear Mayor Murray, I stood in the audience of the Greenwood Seafare Parade a few evenings ago when you rode by in a car, waving at the crowd. I myself am a victim of the kind of confusing sexual advances that happen when you're a young teenager interacting with a person of power, and I am aware of three others in my group who have been or are in similar positions. I pray the allegations against you are false, however; the amount of them and their details are compelling. I am deeply concerned about the message of you waving and smiling sends to children currently in sexually abusive situations which are often difficult to define and even more difficult to seek help for. In the interest of those teenagers who are currently looking for a reason to define what may feel uncomfortable and wrong as unacceptable and in the interest of encouraging them to seek help, I hope you will resign as mayor, citing as your reason a desire to create a safe space for victims to step forward and trust that they will be believed. I truly think this will not be an admission of guilt for you but a generous move to support children and victims. As we watched you high-five children in the audience, we felt physically sick; not out of judgement of you as that is not our right but in sympathy for what it must feel like for children currently in abusive situations to see that. I truly appreciate your deep consideration of my points. I know that you join me in wanting to create a safe space for victims of abuse to bravely step forward, and I deeply hope that your actions in the near future will reflect this.
Dear Honorable Mayor Murray, I am writing to ask for you to step down. I am a gay male, and a survivor of pre-teen sexual abuse. I have been, until recently, an ardent defender of you, and of you staying in office. I don't trust the person while filed the lawsuit against you, and has since dropped that suit. It smelled to me of political sabotage. Several weeks ago, I wanted you to even consider running for re-election as a write-in candidate. Now, however, my feelings have changed. I don't know if you are guilty or not, but with the new revelations from the Oregon case, I believe you staying in office is no longer justifiable. I feel this is shining a spotlight on gay men as predators, and re-affirming too many stereotypes against gay men. Whether you have committed these acts or not, at this point I feel is irrelevant. If you want to do right by the city, and do right by the gay men of this city, then I feel it is time for you to step down. You no longer serve me as a life-long Seattle resident, and I ask you to please step down now. Just so you know, I voted for you, and several months ago, would have again. Now I'd like you to please step down, not because you are wrong, but because it is what's best for the city and the gay community.