This Saturday will mark two months since the Seattle Times published the results of an investigation into Ed Murray by Oregon CPS, one that ended with a belief that he sexually assaulted a foster child in his care. At the time, I joined the calls for Ed Murray to resign (following prior calls to be judicious in how he approached these allegations, and if he could not, that he should be prepared to resign).
Of course, as we all know, he did not. Council President Bruce Harrell, joined by colleagues Sally Bagshaw, Debora Juarez, and Lisa Herbold, issued a statement that ostensibly defended keeping him in office. Former mayors have said that his resignation would cause too much disruption, and he should stay in office. Mayoral candidate Jenny Durkan deferred on whether he should resign, and somehow came to the conclusion that there was not enough due process. Party leaders have remained mostly silent.
On the flip side, the LGBTQ Commission and Human Rights Commission both have issued statements that Murray should resign. Council members Gonzalez and Sawant have concurred. Mayoral candidate Cary Moon has emphatically stated that he should resign.
Well, it has been two months, and now there is another story about Ed Murray sexually abusing teenagers. Where before he has stated that people cannot be trusted because of criminal records, here he is saying that this man must be lying because of familial bad blood. I dunno, maybe molesting your cousin's kid created some bad blood. So again, I will say: Mayor Murray, for the sake of the city, now is the time to resign.
For folks who think I'm being a bit too harsh, or still will call for more "due process," let's take a look at what we have heard to date:
In New York in the 1970's, Ed Murray purportedly molested a 13-year-old housemate for over a year. Following allegations at a group facility for boys where he worked that he had engaged in similar behavior, and this boy reporting to his parents, he was "spared" further investigation through his cousin's uncle cutting a deal. And shortly thereafter, he left New York.
In Portland, OR, in the late 1970's and early 1980's, Ed Murray had a foster child who reported ongoing sexual abuse to CPS. CPS investigated, Murray retained a lawyer, underwent a polygraph test, refused to give the results, and the investigation concluded that he has likely sexually assaulted this boy that was in his care.
Now, the "due process" afforded was the investigation, and he had an opportunity to challenge the finding before an administrative law system, and ultimately the superior courts in Oregon. Instead, a few months after the finding, he left Portland for Seattle.
In Seattle in the mid-1980's, Ed Murray reportedly paid teenagers for sex, focusing on those with substance abuse problems and who were experiencing housing instability.
With each change, the victims were more vulnerable, and less likely to report. In each instance where there was a report, Ed Murray skipped town. Folks - this is what we call a pattern. And by engaging in actions against people more vulnerable and less likely to speak, and more likely to be dismissed because of criminal backgrounds or addiction, it appears that Ed Murray sought safer targets.
If we listen to Ed Murray, he didn't do any of these things. Each in itself is a conspiracy against him. Frankly, that would make this the most elaborate conspiracy I have ever seen. Given the founded allegation, the multiple people who have come forward with their stories, and the similarities and evolution of these stories, one can be expected to come to the conclusion that Ed Murray, at least through the 1970's and 1980's, engaged in child rape.
Every time the city posts a picture of Ed Murray out doing city business, kids who are being molested today see someone getting away with it. We are viewing a powerful white man not having to hold himself accountable - either for his actions then, or his responses today. At one point, Ed Murray made a statement about confederate symbols causing pain, and how removal of one in Seattle on private property is outside the scope of his office. Removing the person who is causing extreme pain among so many in our city is within the scope of his office.
Folks say that the "disruption" caused by a resignation would be too much. That's a load of trash. That is insulting to the staff and department heads who have continued to keep this city moving forward throughout Ed Murray's callous responses, and continued cancellation of events - done necessarily when new evidence and stories emerge. The disruption is occurring because he refuses to step down.
Frankly, the City Council could agree to keep all staff and department heads, could appoint Tim Burgess to sign checks, and allow our city to move forward. It could be done without disruption, and move our city forward from this painful year caused by one man putting his self-interest ahead of the good of the city. We deserve so much better than what we are getting, and with the continued actions of this Mayor, the only responsible action left to take is resignation.