SEATTLE -- A 46-year-old Kent man has filed a lawsuit accusing Seattle Mayor Ed Murray of having "raped and molested" him when the man was a 15-year-old high school dropout and Murray was in his early 30s, The Seattle Times first reported Thursday.
A spokesman and the mayor's attorney vehemently denied the allegations, describing them as a "shakedown effort" as the filing deadline for this fall's mayoral election approaches.
"The allegations are false," Murray's attorney, Robert Sulkin, said Thursday afternoon. "He is not engaged in any inappropriate conduct with a minor, and I don't think it's a coincidence these allegations have occurred in the midst of a mayoral campaign."
Watch Robert Sulkin's full remarks below:
Q13 News obtained a copy of the lawsuit, which was filed in King County Superior Court and alleges Murray sexually abused the teen on a number of occasions, beginning in 1986, for payments of $10 and $20.
Murray’s personal spokesman Jeff Reading said in a statement to Q13 News:
“These false accusations are intended to damage a prominent elected official who has been a defender of vulnerable populations for decades. It is not a coincidence that this shakedown effort comes within weeks of the campaign filing deadline. These unsubstantiated assertions, dating back three decades, are categorically false. Mayor Murray has never engaged in an inappropriate relationship with any minor ... Mayor Murray will vigorously fight these allegations in court."
The man, who is identified only as "D.H." in the suit, told the Times he was a crack-cocaine addicted teen when Murray allegedly abused him in Murray's Capitol Hill apartment. He said they had met on a bus.
He alleged in his interview with the Times that Murray continued to pay him for the next four to five years, at least 50 times.
The man gave Murray's phone number at the time, described the inside of Murray's apartment at the time, and provided detailed descriptions of certain parts of Murray's anatomy.
The man was quoted by the Times as saying, "I have been dealing with this for over 30 years" and that he was coming forward as part of a "healing process" after years of "shame, the embarrassment, the guilt, the humiliation that I put myself through and that he put me through."
"At the end of the day, we're going to defend this lawsuit vigorously," Sulkin said. "The Mayor is going to do his job for the City of Seattle, and this accuser is going to have to explain himself."