More than one man has come forward to accuse the current mayor of Seattle of having repeatedly raped teenage boys hooked on crack cocaine.
A civil lawsuit filed on April 6 claims Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, 61, allegedly "raped and molested" a 15-year-old boy for as long as five years after the two met on a city bus in 1986.
The Seattle Times has also recently interviewed two other male claimants who accuse Murray of similar crimes when they were teenagers in the 1980s.
The mayor called the claims "categorically false" and insinuated the allegations are part of a smear campaign to sully his reputation "within weeks of the campaign filing deadline," Daily Mail reports.
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Murray has been mayor of the liberal city of Seattle since 2013, following a lengthy career in the state legislature, where he notably pushed to legalize gay marriage in the state. As mayor, he has fought to raise the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour and resolve the homelessness issue in Seattle.
His political reputation is now on the line in light of the new lawsuit, filed in King County Superior Court, by a 46-year-old man identified only by the initials of D.H.
The accuser stated the abuse by the now-mayor began when he was 15 and a crack cocaine addict, and when Murray was in his early 30s.
Coming forward now, after more than 30 years since the period of abuse, D.H. says the lawsuit filing is part of a "healing process" that addresses "the shame, the embarrassment, the guilt, the humiliation that I put myself through and he put me through."
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The now-sober man said he has been "dealing with this for over 30 years."
The plaintiff pointed to his father's recent death as the catalyst to a longstanding inner desire to free himself of the guilt and shame attached to the secret.
His attorneys clarified in the complaint that there is no political motivation behind their client's actions, KIRO reports, and stated that D.H. "believes the public has a right to full information when a trusted official exploits a child."
Two other men, Jeff Simpson and Lloyd Anderson, have also come forward to The Seattle Times to accuse Murray of the same charges and to support D.H., saying they would testify in court about their own abuse experiences.
Simpson, 49, claims he considered Murray a father figure, but that the older man had raped him repeatedly since age 13, and later took to paying him $10 for the sexual favors.
"I would really like for him to admit it and to take responsibility," Simpson said. "I don't necessarily think that he destroyed my life but I believe a lot of the problems I have stemmed from this."
Simpson had attempted to sue Murray in 2007, with the backing of Anderson, but his attorney withdrew from the case.
Murray's personal spokesman, Jeff Reading, released a statement about the suit:
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.
The sum of damages sought under the civil lawsuit has not been disclosed to the public and D.H. says he has not pressed Murray for money previously.