On Tuesday, Mayor Ed Murray of the city of Seattle announced his resignation from that office, capping a long-standing sex scandal that had brought calls for him to step down for months.
Allegations by multiple young men of sexual abuse when they were underage were not enough to cause him to step down. But the most recent claim – that he had abused a younger cousin in the 1970s – proved to be too much.
Murray issued the following statement:
“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.”
Ever since allegations by five men of past molestation at the hands of Murray emerged in April, the embattled mayor has maintained his innocence. He had resisted calls for his resignation, despite ending his campaign for re-election in May.
However, according to City Council member Tim Burgess, “The accumulation of these accusations and now coming from a family member just made it essential that he resign.”
Upon Murray’s resignation becoming effective at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Council President Bruce Harrell will become interim mayor, deciding whether to assume the acting mayor role. If Harrell opts not to assume the role as acting mayor, the city council will choose another council member to fill the vacancy until the results of the November election are determined.
The election, which pits city planner Cary Moon against former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan, will take place on November 7, with the results certified on November 28.
Harrell also released a statement, expressing his sympathy to those who have endured sexual abuse, as well as “the re-traumatization these allegations have caused…”
Harrell added, “These accusations are unspeakable and require the utmost attention from our legal and social-service system no matter how long ago they might have occurred.”
Murray, who has all along denied the prior allegations of sexual abuse, would have a hard time avoiding the political fallout from this last claim. After all, it came from his own family.