Just before the new year, Delvonn Heckard settled his lawsuit against the City of Seattle for $150,000 over a claim that the city and former mayor Ed Murray defamed Heckard while trying to discredit Heckard's accusation of sex abuse as a teen under the age of consent.
Something you may have missed in the news during the holidays: Attached to the settlement, Murray issued a statement that he regretted writing an editorial published in The Stranger that attacked the credibility of his accusers. Parties to the lawsuit agreed to review each other's statements before they were finalized.
In the op-ed Murray wrote for this newspaper, Murray said his former foster son Jeff Simpson couldn't be trusted because of his criminal history, called the Seattle Times' reporting "reckless," and suggested that the allegations against him were part of an anti-gay right-wing plot. (Simpson's last stint in jail was 13 years ago, and since then he's gotten sober, gotten married, and has been employed as a public roads worker.)
Murray still denies Heckard's accusations, as he has denied the other four accusations against him.
Here's the part of the statement that addresses the op-ed:
I recognize that victims of sexual abuse have a right to be heard and I apologize if, in my effort to defend myself, I made any statements that were interpreted as an attempt to “blame the victim” or were in any way insensitive to victims of sexual abuse and assault. Like many Americans and Seattleites alike, I have friends and family who are victims of sexual abuse, and I am acutely aware of the struggles many such victims experience in overcoming their past trauma.
More specifically, I regret an article we wrote that led many to believe that I was attacking victims of sexual abuse or accusing the plaintiff’s attorneys (Lincoln Beauregard and Julie Kays of the Connelly Law Firm) of being part of a right-wing conspiracy. I was concerned about possible political motivations because similar allegations (also baseless) by another person had been made in connection with a right-wing organization during my efforts to pass marriage equality through the state senate.