Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (D), facing multiple child sex-abuse allegations dating to the 1970s, will resign Wednesday, saying the damaging claims have become a distraction that threatens to undermine the city government’s ability to serve its citizens.
Murray’s spokesman, William Lemke, told The Washington Post the resignation takes effect at 5 p.m.
The announcement Tuesday came just hours after the Seattle Times reported new allegations Murray, 62, sexually abused a relative in the mid-70s. That relative, a cousin, was the fifth man to publicly accuse the mayor of sexual assault, the newspaper reported.
Murray continues to deny the accusations, saying his progressive political record and gay-rights advocacy made him a target for those determined to drag him down. His cousin’s allegations, Murray told the Times, stem from “bad blood between two estranged wings of the family.”
In a written statement issued by the mayor’s office, Murray said, “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. … 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.”
Elected mayor in 2013, Murray dropped his reelection bid in May after the first four men claimed he had sexually abused them years earlier, when they were teenagers. One filed a lawsuit in April, alleging in lurid detail Murray “repeatedly criminally raped and molested” him when he was a homeless 15-year-old in the 1980s.
The other alleged victims chose not to sue.
Murray resisted calls to resign, a decision some members of the Seattle City Council supported before his cousin’s allegations surfaced this week. As recently as June, when the lawsuit was withdrawn, Murray even suggested he’d run again as a write-in candidate, saying he felt vindicated.
Seattle is home to nearly 715,000 people and one of the nation’s fastest-growing economies, fueled in large part by the tech boom and steady expansion by several major firms headquartered there.
City Council President Bruce Harrell will step in to serve as mayor. Seattle’s charter gives him five days to decide whether to remain through the rest of Murray’s term, Harrell announced in a statement.
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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Andrew deGrandpre