On Monday, news broke that Seattle Mayor Ed Murray was found to have sexually abused his foster son in the early 1980s by the State of Oregon’s Child Protective Services (CPS). After consistently denying abuse accusations since April, Murray now faces increasing pressure to step down.
“Prior to being elected to city council, I represented survivors of sexual abuse, including foster children,” council member Lorena Gonzalez said in a public statement she made Tuesday. “Because of my decade long career in this highly sensitive area of law, I am familiar with the nature of state-sanctioned investigations and the complexity of finding the truth given the power dynamic between a child and a foster parent.”
Gonzalez’s background in law provides her with a holistic understanding of these types of cases. While Murray was never indicted for the alleged crimes, her call for Murray to step down has led The Daily to believe he should do so as well. If Gonzalez, a lawyer in sexual abuse cases, believes the evidence is serious enough, The Daily is inclined to believe her
“If the mayor continues to serve as mayor, then by no later than July 24, 2017, the city council should convene its own committee to determine if a transition in Executive leadership is merited under these circumstances,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez wasn’t the only one to make a statement calling for action to be taken against the mayor.
Mayoral candidate Nikkita Oliver made a statement declaring that “every system has failed to hold [Murray] accountable,” and that she believes the mayor should step down.
“The continuous rehashing of this [sexual abuse] in a very public way, without any substantive pursuit of accountability re-traumatizes countless victims and survivors of sexual abuse,” Oliver said.
Despite these requests, Murray made it clear he would not resign in a statement Monday afternoon.
We, The Daily’s Editorial Board, condemn the actions of the mayor.
We, like Oliver, would also like to express our deepest sympathies to Jeff Simpson and to anyone with a history of childhood sexual abuse. We understand this news can be painful to process.
If you or a loved one is feeling emotionally, physically, or mentally distraught as a result of this news, please know the following resources are available.
Harborview Medical Center’s Center for Sexual Assault & Traumatic Stress can be reached at (206) 744-1600. It has offices in Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, and Shoreline. It offers counseling, medical examinations, and evaluation via the Foster Care Assessment Program.
The King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC) can be reached 24/7 at (888) 998-6423. The KCSARC specializes in crisis response, advocacy, legal assistance, therapy, family services, and is a member of the Crime Victim Service Center. It also offers services in Spanish.
The Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN) also has several nation-wide resources that can be used in Seattle and King County. Specifically, the confidential National Sexual Assault Hotline is (800) 656-4673.
The Daily’s Editorial Board
Rebecca Gross, Editor-in-Chief
Madelaine VanDerHeyden, Opinion Editor
Alexis Mansanarez, News Editor
Mira Petrillo, Wellness Editor
Colin Piwtorak, Science Editor
Kellyn Grassel, Copy Chief
Monalice Choi, Copy Chief
Andrew Estey, Illustrations Editor
Aurora San Miguel, Photo Editor
Reach Editorial Board at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A correction was made to this article July 18, 2017 at 6 p.m.: The article had originally stated Gonzalez "believes Murray did commit the alleged crimes and that he should no longer hold office." The Editorial Board wants to clarify, Gonzalez did not officially state she believes the Mayor to have committed these crimes.