Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is being sued by a man who claims Murray “raped and molested him” three decades ago, when the man was 15 years old.
The mayor held a brief news conference Friday to deny the allegations.
“To be on the receiving end of such untrue allegations is very painful for me. It is painful for my husband and for those who are close to us,” he told reporters. “I understand the person making these accusations is troubled, and that makes me sad as well.”
The Seattle Times has investigated this claim in depth, along with the stories of two other men who also say Murray abused them when they were young. According to the Times report, too much time has passed to file criminal charges, but the same is not true for a civil suit.
Earlier in the week, the mayor’s spokesman said the suit was politically motivated. “It is not a coincidence that this shakedown effort comes within weeks of the campaign filing deadline,” Jeff Reading said in a statement reported by The Associated Press.
Murray, 61, is a progressive mayor, and has been serving in that role since 2014. He had previously served in the state legislature for 18 years, where he led a long campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington. As mayor, he pushed through a measure to raise Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.
“Things have never come easy to me in life but I have never backed down and I will not back down now,” Murray said in his news conference. “I will continue to be mayor of this city. I will continue to run for re-election.”
He declined to take questions, saying this is now a matter for the courts to resolve.