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Seattle Council: No comment on child sex abuse claims against mayor

caption: Seattle Mayor Ed Murray in the KUOW studios.
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Seattle Mayor Ed Murray in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

The Seattle City Council is not commenting on child sex abuse allegations against Mayor Ed Murray.

A lawsuit filed last week in King County accuses Murray of repeatedly raping and molesting a 15-year-old boy in the mid-1980s.

The plaintiff, referred to by the initials D.H. in the lawsuit, is now 46 years old.

D.H. says Murray paid him for sex when he was in his teens. The suit also alleges that Murray knew the plaintiff was underage at the time.

Murray vigorously denies the allegations. He said in a press conference Friday that he'll continue to serve as mayor and continue to run for re-election.

In a statement released Monday, Council President Bruce Harrell said he and his colleagues will not comment and will instead focus on their responsibilities to the city.

My council colleagues and I have no intention of commenting on matters of pending or potential litigation. We believe that it is critically important that, together, we remain committed to the business of governing.

All city employees and city departments are focused on our core responsibilities of customer service, affordable housing, homelessness, public safety, transportation, education and ensuring equality for all in a great but rapidly growing city. The work before us is too critical for the future of Seattle and its residents. We intend to continue working with unwavering dedication to serving the people who put their faith in us.

Our city cannot afford to be distracted. There is a judicial process that will address the serious allegations that this situation has presented, and we will respect that process and the rights of all parties involved. All accusations of abuse require a thorough investigation. It is in our human nature to immediately want answers, but I ask we not cast aspersions to the parties involved before we have all the facts through the legal process. I am confident that through this process, truth and justice will prevail.

It is worth repeating we are steadfast and focused on serving the people of Seattle. The cuncil has a strong committee structure that works with the city’s 40 departments in upholding our city charter of "protecting and enhancing the health, safety, environment, and general welfare of the people; to enable municipal government to provide services and meet the needs of the people efficiently; to allow fair and equitable participation of all persons in the affairs of the city; to provide for transparency, accountability, and ethics in governance and civil service; to foster fiscal responsibility; to promote prosperity and to meet the broad needs for a healthy, growing city."

Harrell read the statement at the beginning of Monday’s City Council briefing. There was no discussion among council members following the statement, and business went on as usual.

Attempts to speak with individual council members after the briefing were shot down.

Council Member Lisa Herbold was happy to discuss upcoming amendments to legislation coming out of her committee, but had nothing to say about the allegations against the mayor.

“Staying focused on the city’s business,” she said.

The council isn't always in lock-step with the mayor. He often receives pushback from council members on legislation.

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