sexual assault | KUOW News and Information

sexual assault

David Schmader at KUOW.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Bill Radke speaks with David Schmader about the essay he wrote for KUOW's Seattle Story Project titled, "My teacher abused me. I didn’t realize it until 20 years later."

In high school, Schmader was one of the theater kids. He even convinced his parents to let some family friends become his legal guardian so he could go to a school 20 miles away where they had one of the best speech and drama programs in all of Texas. He would rehearse before school, after school, during lunch.

He even started taking private lessons from one of his teachers. Schmader ended up having his first sexual experience with this man. 

Delvonn Heckard's legal team: Julie Kays, left, and Lincoln Beauregard.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Delvonn Heckard, the man who accused Seattle Mayor Ed Murray of abusing him, withdrew his lawsuit this week. But he said he did it at his attorneys' behest; if it were up to him, he would have forged ahead. 

“I put my college on hold and everything just to deal with this, and then for this to happen, it’s just a lot to take in,” he said. “But I guess my attorneys know what they’re doing.”

The author, left, in high school.
Courtesy of David Schmader

This story takes place in the year 1986, in the great state of Texas.

After more than 30 hours of jury deliberations, there is still no conclusion to the sexual assault trial of comedian Bill Cosby.

The members of the jury say they are deadlocked and "cannot come to a unanimous consensus on any of these counts." The judge has ordered jurors to return to deliberations and try — again — to reach a decision.

Cosby has been charged with multiple felony counts of aggravated indecent assault, over allegations that he drugged and molested Andrea Constand, then a Temple University employee, in 2004.

Eli Sanders, Rob McKenna and Mayor Ed Murray participate in KUOW's 'Week in Review' in front of a live audience at the Vera Project on Fri. July 31, 2015.
KUOW File Photo/Gil Aegerter

Attorneys for Seattle Mayor Ed Murray have formally answered a lawsuit that accuses Murray of raping an underage teen boy in the mid-1980s.

The documents filed in court this week deny the allegations and request the lawsuit be dismissed.  


Lawyers for Bill Cosby will get their first glimpse on Monday of potential jurors who will decide the fate of the 79-year-old comedian in his criminal trial on sexual assault charges in Pennsylvania.

Cosby has maintained his innocence in the face of three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault over a 2004 encounter at his suburban Philadelphia mansion.

Now, after one and a half years of hearings, the trial is finally about to begin, pitting the story of Andrea Constand against Cosby's defense.

Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET

Swedish prosecutors have announced they are dropping the country's rape investigation of Julian Assange. The WikiLeaks founder, who has long denied the allegation, has been holed up at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012 to avoid Sweden's extradition request.

Amy Radil

When it comes to the sex scandal surrounding Mayor Ed Murray, we haven’t heard much from people who knew him as a young man in the 1980s, when the abuse he’s accused of allegedly took place.


Mayor Ed Murray at a press conference in the University District in September 2016.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

When Jeff Simpson tried to sue Ed Murray a decade ago alleging sexual abuse, Murray's lawyer wrote back, “Your client is totally untrustworthy and will lie, cheat or steal as necessary to get what he wants.”

Brian Williams was Simpson’s attorney back then. He says the man who is now suing Murray better be prepared for more of that.


The top attorney in the state of Washington is bringing light to a pattern of alleged sexual assaults at a small-town farm. Attorney General Bob Ferguson has filed a federal lawsuit (Spanish version here) against Horning Brothers LLC and one of its supervisors.


KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

This week the man accusing Seattle Mayor Ed Murray of sexually abusing him when he was 15 has revealed his identity. D.H. is Delvonn Heckard, a 46-year-old Kent man. Murray once again denied ever having a sexual relationship with Heckard.

Meanwhile, Seattle's mayoral race just grew by two candidates. Former mayor Mike McGinn announced he will be running along with waterfront activist Cary Moon.

The man known for the last week just by his initials, D.H., has revealed himself as the person who filed a lawsuit accusing Seattle Mayor Ed Murray of sexual abuse in the 1980s.

Bill Radke talks to Leslie Briner who leads training on sexual abuse and human trafficking. She says young people who end up on the streets often turn to sex to survive.

Mayor Ed Murray at a press conference in the University District in September 2016.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

This was going to be a story about how far we’ve come in talking about victims of sexual abuse.

Eli Sanders, Rob McKenna and Mayor Ed Murray participate in KUOW's 'Week in Review' in front of a live audience at the Vera Project on Fri. July 31, 2015.
KUOW File Photo/Gil Aegerter

A week ago, a man with the initials D.H. filed a lawsuit saying that Seattle Mayor Ed Murray had paid him for sex as a teenager in the 1980s. D.H., who at 15 could not legally consent to sex with an adult, alleges sexual abuse.

Many have wondered what Kshama Sawant's next fight will be, now that Seattle has a $15 minimum wage (to be phased in over several years). At City Hall on Thursday night, she'll make the case for legalizing rent control.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Members of the Seattle City Council have been quiet about the child sex abuse allegations against Mayor Ed Murray. Until now.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, left, walks past his husband, Michael Shiosaki, center, and his attorney, Bob Sulkin, to make a statement to media members Friday, April 7, 2017, in Seattle.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Ed Murray’s lawyer says a doctor’s exam shows sexual assault allegations against the Seattle mayor are false.


Seattle Mayor Ed Murray speaks Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Murray joined Washington Gov. Jay Inslee in announcing Inslee's executive order to fight the rising abuse of opioids in Washington state.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Jeannie Yandel talks to Seattle attorney Michael Pfau about the lawsuit filed against Seattle Mayor Ed Murray last week. He explains what happens now as the legal case proceeds and how it might be prosecuted and defended.

Pfau has tried sexual abuse cases against the Catholic Church, the State of Washington, the Boy Scouts of America and others.  

Mayor Ed Murray, left, on Friday afternoon after denying accusations of rape. His husband gave him a quick embrace as he left the podium.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Mayor Ed Murray's statement to the press, the day after The Seattle Times reported on accusations that the mayor raped teen boys in the 1980s:


Seattle Mayor Ed Murray speaks Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Murray joined Washington Gov. Jay Inslee in announcing Inslee's executive order to fight the rising abuse of opioids in Washington state.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has been accused of raping a teen boy in the mid-1980s, according to a lawsuit filed on Thursday.


Chicago police have now arrested two suspects in the brutal sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl that was streamed on Facebook Live. Both of those charged in the attack are teenage boys, ages 14 and 15, and police continue to look for more accomplices.

About 40 people may have watched the rapes on Facebook as they happened, but none of them reported the crimes to the police. That's raising ethical and legal questions about those who witnessed the crime, including whether they can be charged for their inaction.

A survivor of abuse has resigned from Pope Francis' panel on clerical sex abuse, citing "shameful" resistance within the Vatican to the group's efforts to protect children.

One of the sons of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky faces child sexual abuse charges in Centre County, Pa.

NPR's Jeff Brady reported that the charges against 41-year-old Jeffrey Sandusky come more than four years after his father was convicted of child sexual abuse.

"Jeffrey Sandusky was charged with 14 counts that include child sexual abuse and child pornography. His adoptive father, former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, was convicted in 2012 of abusing 10 boys," Jeff reported.

After a newspaper investigation concluded that one-fifth of all sexual assault complaints in Canada were dismissed as "unfounded," or baseless — a far higher percentage than for other types of crime — police forces across the country are revisiting old cases.

In total, police forces are reviewing more than 10,000 rape and assault allegations that were dismissed as "unfounded," The Globe and Mail reports.

"Difficult woman" is a loaded term, but writer Roxane Gay isn't afraid of taking on ideas with baggage. (A few years ago, she wrote a book of essays called Bad Feminist.) Her new short story collection, Difficult Women, explores women's lives and issues of race, class and sex.

A California judge has been cleared of misconduct after sentencing a Stanford University student to six months in jail for sexually assaulting a woman earlier this year.

"The California Commission on Judicial Performance ruled Monday that there was no evidence that Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky displayed bias in handing down a sentence decried as too lenient by critics across the country," The Associated Press reported.

The first time a man hurt me, I was 8. My story isn't unusual

Dec 14, 2016
The author around the time that she was first assaulted. Tara Weaver
Courtesy of Tara Austen Weaver

Editor's note: Tara Weaver posted this essay on her personal Facebook page after the second presidential debate, when Donald Trump said that his talk of sexual assault was merely locker room banter. More than 4,400 people shared this story, and hundreds commented with their own devastating stories in the comments.

A federal jury has found that Rolling Stone, a reporter and the magazine's publisher are liable in a defamation lawsuit over a retracted article about an alleged rape at the University of Virginia.

The trial centered on a November 2014 piece by reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely that told the story of a student, identified as "Jackie," who said she was brutally gang raped at a fraternity party in 2012.

Elizabeth Allen was at a happy hour for a San Francisco tech firm a couple of years ago, when a co-worker started forcing himself on her and the few other women at the party — again and again.

He was "giving us lots of hugs," Allen says, "trying to kiss me a few times; he grabbed my butt a couple of times." The women were outnumbered by men, some of whom looked on, bemused, as the women tried to signal their distress.

One staple in just about every sexual assault prevention program is the video vignette. It's usually a play-acted scenario used to teach students what crosses the line.

Now, the videotape of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump bragging about groping and kissing women is quickly becoming the classic real-life case study.

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