SEATTLE — Mayor Ed Murray on Friday personally denied the allegations against him in a child abuse lawsuit, saying they “are simply not true.”
“To be on the receiving end of such untrue allegations is very painful for me, it is painful for my husband and for those who are close to us. I understand the individual making these allegations is troubled, and that makes me sad as well,” Murray said in brief statement to the media.
“But let me be clear, these allegations, dating back to a period of more than 30 years, are simply not true,” Murray said.
“Things have never come easy to me in life, but I have never backed down and I will not back down now. I will continue to be the mayor of this city, I will continue to run for re-election…”
Murray took no other questions, saying it was a legal matter now in the courts.
The mayor was reacting to a lawsuit, announced Thursday, that was filed by a 46-year-old Kent man identified in court documents only as D.H. He says Murray "raped and molested" him when the man was a 15-year-old high school dropout and drug addict and Murray was in his early 30s.
D.H.'s attorney, Lincoln C. Beauregard, issued this statement in response to Murray's denial on Friday:
"That after the Mayor has done so much good for the community, and inspired so many people, it must be hard for him to know that his career is over. It must be a very tough time knowing that he has to explain this, and eventually admit this, to his loving partner, political allies, and the public -- which he really didn't do. In relation to my client specifically, the Mayor's people have never asked that he be identified, and if the Mayor's telling the truth, he should have no idea who my client is. If that is true, how can he paint him as 'troubled' and the like?"
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 Seattle 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 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."