Mayor says he is innocent of allegations, declares: ‘I am not going to resign’

SEATTLE — Mayor Ed Murray, facing new calls for him to step down, declared Monday that “I am not going to resign” and that he plans to serve out the months remaining in his term.

Two of the people running to replace Murray as Seattle’s mayor are calling on him to resign immediately, and now a city council member also said Murray needs to consider stepping down. Murray has already announced he is not seeking re-election. His term is up in January.

The statements come after a report from The Seattle Times in which newly uncovered documents reveal that Oregon child welfare investigators said they believed Murray sexually abused a foster son in the 1980s. However, prosecutors did not charge him at the time.

As a result of the article, mayoral candidates Mike McGinn and former state Representative Jessyn Farrell called on Murray to resign. And City Council member Lorena Gonzalez released a statement asking Murray to consider stepping down as mayor.

Murray issued the following statement Monday afternoon:

“Since the day several months ago when sexual abuse allegations surfaced against me in the media, I have been clear that those allegations are false. They remain just as false today as they were back then.

“But I also know that the allegations about events more than 30 years ago have created a cloud of uncertainty in the public mind. That is why in May I announced that I would not seek reelection to the job that I love, serving as mayor of Seattle. As I said at the time, it was a very difficult and painful decision for me, but upon reflection I felt that putting the best interests of the city first meant that I had to announce that I would step aside and allow someone else to take leadership of City government at the end of my term.

“Guiding my decisions is my continued focus on what is in the best interest of the city. I know that today a member of the Council has issued a statement calling on me to resign, and warning of action against me if I do not. I continue to believe such a course of action would not be in the city’s best interest. That is why I am not going to resign, and intend to complete the few remaining months of my term as mayor.

“My administration and I continue to govern the city effectively, and I am proud that we continue to deliver results that will improve the lives of the people of Seattle. Last week we announced the opening of an innovative, 75-bed Navigation Center to help house homeless people suffering on our streets. Today we are announcing an agreement to expand the use of body cameras by Seattle Police, so we can increase transparency and accountability and strengthen the bonds of trust between police and our communities. And we have many more important announcements coming over the next few months.

“Seattle needs steady, focused leadership over the next several months. We have a lot of work to do. Establishing an effective transition between administrations takes months of careful planning and preparation – work that I and my team have already begun. We do not need the sort of abrupt and destabilizing transition that a resignation would create, likely bringing the City’s business to a grinding halt. Council action against me would similarly prevent the City’s business from continuing, only so I can again show these allegations from 30 years remain false."

And four of the nine Seattle City Council members issued a joint news release in support of the mayor. It was signed by Council President Bruce Harrell and members Sally Bagshaw, Lisa Herbold and Debora Juarez.

“Allegations of abuse must be taken seriously at all times," the City Council news release said. "Despite serious allegations that Mayor Ed Murray committed acts of misconduct, there have been no judicial findings or conclusions that he committed an offense or willfully violated any laws. The Mayor is entitled to due process and legal counsel."