Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has announced his resignation after a fifth man came forward to accuse him of sexual abuse. The mayor has denied accusations that he repeatedly molested his 13-year-old cousin decades ago.
In a statement released Tuesday, Murray adamantly denied the allegations, but said his resignation would be “best for the city.”
“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, adding that he was proud of the work he had accomplished during his time as a legislator.
Murray’s resignation came shortly after the Seattle Times reported Tuesday that Joseph Dyer, 54, Murray’s first cousin accused the mayor of repeatedly molesting him when he was 13 years old.
“There would be times when I would fake sleeping because I didn’t want him touching me,” Dyer, told the Times. “And that’s when he would molest me. And my mother would be right there in the house, she’d be in the living room… watching TV, at that time it was probably ‘M*A*S*H.’ And my sisters would be in their rooms, sleeping. And I would be in my room, and he would be in there, molesting me.”
Murray, 62, confirmed that he did share a room with Dyer in the ‘70’s. Murray and his siblings came to live with Dyer and his mother, Maryellen Sottile, in New York after their mother died. Dyer was 13 at the time while Murray was in his early twenties.
Murray denied the allegations, which he said were fabricated to get back at him for previous clashes between the families.
“I did not sexually abuse any of her children,” Murray told the Times. “There’s been numerous fights between our two families for many years, and much ugliness. I guess they see me down and out, and they want to finish me off.”
Dyer told the Times he was motivated to come forward after he saw Murray deny previous allegations.
“I saw… clips of (Murray) denying what he did, that pissed me off to the point where I am like, ‘That’s it. I have had enough.’ I have been carrying this around for 40-some years. Something has got to be done.”
Sottile also told the Times that she was “very glad to hear that he’s resigned,” adding that she hopes it will help others.
Lloyd Anderson, who accused Murray of paying him for sex when he was a teenager, said that he felt “victory” after Murray announced his resignation, but also felt “saddened that it required another victim to come forward for him to resign.”
“I wonder how many other victims are out there,” Anderson said, according to a statement obtained by the Times.
Murray previously ended his bid for a second term after the initial accusations were made. However, he had support to finish his term until the most recent allegations were reported Tuesday.
Mayoral candidate Jenny Durkan, who previously accepted Murray’s endorsement, released a statement Tuesday that said his decision to resign was “in everybody’s best interest.”
“As a parent, former public official and openly gay woman, these allegations are beyond sad and tragic; no official is above the law,” Durkan said.
Rival candidate Cary Moon, who has repeatedly called for Murray to step down in the wake of previous allegations, called his response “inappropriate and harmful, especially to survivors, LGBTQ people and young people everywhere.”
“Survivors of sexual assault must be believed and treated with respect,” Moon said in a statement. “It’s terribly difficult for victims to speak up publicly. How many victims will it take for the Mayor to step down?”
Murray was first accused of sexual abuse in April, when Delvon Heckard, 46, filed a lawsuit accusing the mayor of paying him for sex more than 50 times when he was 15 years old.
Murray said that his resignation would be effective Wednesday at 5:00pm, at which point City Council President Bruce Harrell would take over as mayor. Harrell has five days to decide whether to fill out the rest of Murray’s term which ends on December 31.
In a statement obtained by KONG, Harrell said he intends to make an announcement within five days, after he consults with his family and other members of the Seattle City Council.
“The City must focus on governance and day-to-day business without distraction,” Harrell said. “I have a plan in place for a seamless transition in order for City operations to continue at the highest standard. Seattleites deserve a government that holds their full confidence and trust.”