Read Seattle mayor’s resignation letter: sexual abuse claims are “not true” but “I’m sorry”

Read Seattle mayor’s resignation letter: sexual abuse claims are “not true” but “I’m sorry”
[Photo: Seattle City Council Flickr]

Mayor Ed Murray of Seattle is resigning after a fifth person, a cousin, stepped forward to accuse him of sexual abuse. He has continually denied previous allegations, and dismissed calls to resign, but this summer he said he would not seek a second term in the city’s upcoming mayoral elections. This afternoon, he wrote:

“I am announcing my resignation as mayor, effective at 5 p.m. tomorrow.

“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.

“I’m proud of all that I have accomplished over my 19 years in the Legislature, where I was able to pass what were at the time the largest transportation packages in state history, a landmark gay civil rights bill and a historic marriage equality bill.

“And I am proud of what we have accomplished together at the City during my time as mayor, passing a nation-leading $15 minimum wage, and major progressive housing affordability and police accountability legislation, as well as negotiating an agreement to build a world-class arena that I believe in time will bring the NHL and NBA to Seattle. 

“But it has also become clear to me that in light of the latest news reports it is best for the city if I step aside.

“To the people of this special city and to my dedicated staff, I am sorry for this painful situation.

“In the interest of an orderly transition of power, Council President Bruce Harrell will become Mayor upon my resignation, and will decide within the following five days whether he will fill out the remainder of my term. During this time Director of Operations Fred Podesta has been tasked with leading the transition.”

The Seattle Times reported Tuesday that Joseph Dyer, 54, said that Murray had repeatedly molested him when he was a teenager. He says Murray—who lived with Dyer’s family in New York after his mother passed away—forced him into sex while they shared a bedroom in Dyer’s childhood home. Murray has called the accusations part of a right-wing political mission to destroy him and repeatedly refused calls to resign; the latest accusation, Murray told the Times, is false and likely due to a family rift.

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In a signed declaration Dyer has provided to a Seattle lawyer, he said he decided to come forward after seeing a press conference in which Murray denied previous accusations. His statement says:

“I am offering this declaration to rebut Murray’s claims that he never molested a child and/or the allegations against him were concocted as some sort of right-wing conspiracy. I do not know any of the other victims mentioned in this statement, and I am not part of any conspiracy. In fact, I am related to Murray.

The declaration also calls on Seattle’s elected officials to “do what is right and remove Murray from office.”