More than five months after the first allegations of sexual abuse surfaced against Ed Murray, the two-term Seattle mayor is stepping down.
In a statement released Tuesday — just hours after an article in the Seattle Times included a new claim of molestation levied against the mayor — Murray again asserted his innocence, but said, “it is important that my personal issues do not affect the ability of our City government to conduct the public’s business.”
This time, it was a cousin that accused him of abuse, telling the Times that when the two shared a bedroom at a home in New York in the mid-1970s, Murray forced the then-13-year-old into sex. It was fifth public accusation of abuse against Murray since April. And though the earlier allegations derailed his re-election bid, which he ended in May, he had committed to finishing his current term before Tuesday.
Murray said in his statement that he was proud of what he accomplished in nearly two decades in the state legislature, and during his tenure as mayor, citing the $15 minimum wage, progressive housing affordability and police accountability legislation, along with negotiating the agreement with the Oak View Group to renovate KeyArena, which he believes, “in time will bring the NHL and NBA to Seattle.”
The city had been scheduled to announce a Memorandum of Understanding with OVG on Tuesday morning, only for the press conference to be abruptly canceled after the Times article was published.
Before the announcement by Murray, both candidates still in the running to replace Murray as Seattle’s next mayor called on him to resign.
Urbanist Cary Moon had done so prior to the latest allegations, first in May, and reiterated that sentiment in a press conference on Tuesday, calling Murray’s response to the allegations “deeply inappropriate and harmful.”
“His efforts as a public official to demean and belittle his victims is an abuse of the public trust,” she said. “By not stepping down, by continuing to support my opponent's campaign, he is sending the message that the powerful in this city circle the wagon's around their own. Claiming the victims are motivated by politics, homophobia, due to a family feud — or suggesting that children shouldn't be believed — is manipulative and immoral.”
Former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan did not call for Murray’s resignation until Tuesday, saying in a statement that, “I previously urged the mayor to reflect deeply about whether he could continue to lead and what was in the best interests of the city. It’s clear that it is in everyone’s best interest for him to resign.”
Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell will take over as mayor on an interim basis, and will decide within five days whether he will finish Murray’s term. Fred Podesta, the city’s Director of Operations, will lead the transition.
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