Jeff Simpson, Ed Murray's former foster son who accused the former mayor of sexual abuse starting from when he was 13-years-old, has filed a claim for damages against the City of Seattle.
Simpson's lawyer, former King County senior prosecutor Cheryl Snow, says in the claim notice that the damages could exceed $1 million for "negligence and defamation." Simpson was the first of five men, including Murray's cousin, to accuse Murray of sexual abuse, but Simpson's accusations were not reported publicly until last year. Delvonn Heckard, another accuser of Ed Murray's, settled with the City of Seattle and Murray for child sex abuse, negligence, and defamation in December. He died of an apparent drug overdose in an Auburn hotel room last week.
According to state law, someone who wants to sue a government agency must file a claim 60 days before a lawsuit.
Simpson's notice reads:
Contrary to the repeated prior public accusations of Mr. Murray, his lawyer, and his spokesperson, and members of the Seattle City Council, Mr. Simpson's description of childhood sexual abuse does not arise from any anti-gay agenda or political motivation. Mr. Simpson is simply the survivor of horrific sexual abuse who sought justice and accountability from his abuser, Ed Murray. All he ever desired, was for the truth to be known—that Ed Murray sexually abused him.
For some unexplainable reason, the City of Seattle was never vested in the truth about Ed Murray coming out to the public. Instead of valuing the truth, it made the decision to quickly align itself with Ed Murray, joined in the accusations about Mr. Simpson's anti-gay and political motive, and allowed Mr. Murray to quickly mount a campaign of lies, misrepresentations, and disparagement of his accusers.
The claim says that the city launched an effort to bury a report of childhood sexual abuse starting in 2015, and that the former mayor wielded the power and considerable resources of his office to slander Jeff Simpson and other accusers. "When a City of Seattle employee expressed concern about City resources and time being used by Mr. Murray, they quickly dismissed this concern," the claim reads. It also cites a Seattle Times story revealing meetings that Murray and his advisors held behind the scenes, as well as swapped texts with City Council members, about how to rescue Murray's public image.
The claim's potential witness list includes City Council members Sally Bagshaw and Lorena González, Murray chief of staff Mike Fong, Office of Economic Development spokesperson Joe Mirabella (the employee who expressed concern), and former city human resources director Susan Coskey.
The claim takes issue with Murray's lawyer, Katherine Heekin, distributing information about Simpson's past criminal history to reporters. "[Mr. Murray and those he employed] intentionally ignored and omitted the stale age of Mr. Simpson's convictions," the claim states, "and the fact that Mr. Simpson had, in many ways, turned his life around—now crime free, drug free, married, a father, and employed."
Simpson's lawyer also cites an April 14 guest editorial published by this newspaper in which Murray accused Jeff Simpson of being politically motivated. (An hour and a half earlier, The Stranger had published a story about Simpson I wrote, citing his former lawyer's claims that he believed Simpson but had dropped the case because of the statute of limitations.)
Read the full claim notice, uploaded and reported by the Seattle Times, here.
This post has been updated.