Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced Tuesday he will resign from office hours after the publication of a Seattle Times report in which Murray’s cousin accused the mayor of underage sexual abuse in the 1970s when he was just 13 years old. This is not the first allegation of sexual abuse leveled at the longtime Seattle politician, who was elected the city’s mayor in 2013; four other men have come forward since April with allegations that they were sexually abused by Murray in the 1980s when they were minors.
“Joseph Dyer, 54, a dialysis technician and Air Force veteran, says he was 13 when Murray forced him into sex for about a year while the two shared a bedroom in Dyer’s mother’s home in the Long Island town of Medford, New York,” according to the Seattle Times. “The molestation stopped, Dyer said, only after a boy in a Catholic group home where Murray worked accused Murray of abuse. According to Dyer, his uncle negotiated to get group-home officials not to pursue charges as long as Murray left. After that, Murray left town, Dyer said, and he never saw or spoke to his cousin again.”
The 62-year-old Murray denied the allegations in a statement, but said that he will leave office effective Wednesday at 5 p.m. “While the allegations against me are not true, it is important that my personal issues do not affect the ability of our City government to conduct the public’s business,” Murray said in a written statement Tuesday. Murray had previously announced in May when the first round of accusations hit, that he will not seek reelection.
Murray, a Democrat, is the city’s first openly gay mayor and was an early and vocal national advocate for the gay community when he served in the state legislature for nearly two decades before running for mayor. As mayor, Murray pushed for gay rights and was a key figure in securing marriage equality in the state. Murray campaigned for governor on the promise to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.
The City Council president, Bruce Harrell, will take over as mayor; an election to select a new mayor was already scheduled for November.