Seattle Mayor Ed Murray sexually abused his 13-year-old foster son in the early 1980s, according to recently released Oregon Child Protective Services (CPS) records.
The records, obtained by the Seattle Times, indicate that an Oregon CPS investigator found the sexual abuse allegations against Murray to be credible.
“In the professional judgement of this caseworker who has interviewed numerous children of all ages and of all levels of emotional disturbance regarding sexual abuse, Jeff Simpson has been sexually abused by … Edward Murray,” CPS caseworker Judy Butler wrote in the May 1984 assessment.
Murray, elected Seattle Mayor in 2013, has previously denied the abuse allegations and argued they were debunked by investigators at the time. The recently revealed records, previously thought to have been destroyed, contradict Murray’s claims that he had been exonerated by investigators. (RELATED: Disgraced Seattle Mayor Is Literally Asking To Be Sued)
Murray, then a paralegal in the Portland public defenders office, reportedly abused Simpson over three years beginning in 1980, occasionally providing him with small amounts of money and drugs in exchange for sex acts. Simpson, who was abandoned as an infant, lived with Murray for roughly 18 months after meeting him at the Parry Center for Children in Portland, Ore., where Murray worked as his counselor.
Simpson, now 49, first came forward with the abuse allegations in 1984. He testified to the abuse before a grand jury, but the Multnomah County Prosecutor’s office withdrew the case only a month later after having difficulty with Simpson, who was prone to theft, drug use and running away from home.
Murray cited the lack of criminal conviction in his response to the information in the records.
“Other than the salacious nature of it, I don’t see what the story is,” Murray told the Seattle Times. “The system vindicated me. They withdrew the case.”
The rediscovered records show the prosecutor’s office stressed Simpson’s troubled personality as a primary factor in the decision to withdraw the case and dismissed the idea that the failure to secure a criminal conviction exonerated Murray.
“It was Jeff’s emotional instability, history of manipulative behavior and the fact that he has again run away and made himself unavailable that forced my decision,” Deputy District Attorney Mary Tomlinson wrote in the 1984 letter.
“We could not be sure of meeting the high burden of proof in a criminal case — of proof beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty. However, this in no way means that the District Attorney’s Office has decided Jeff’s allegations are not true,” she wrote.
Oregon CPS child abuse investigators use a lighter standard of evidence than criminal prosecutors. CPS investigators determine whether a “reasonable cause” exists, unlike criminal prosecutor’s who are tasked with proving abuse “beyond a reasonable doubt.” When this standard was applied to Murray’s case, investigators determined Simpson’s allegations were credible and concluded “under no circumstances should Mr. Murray be certified” as a foster parent in the future.
Simpson is one of four men who have publicly accused Murray of sexual abusing them as teenagers in the 1980s. Murray has attacked the credibility of all of his accusers and argued their allegations were politically motivated. He abandoned his re-election campaign as a result of the accusations but has said he will finish out the one year remaining in his term.
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