Three decades before Ed Murray was elected Seattle's mayor, an Oregon child-welfare investigator found that he had sexually abused his foster son, prompting state officials to conclude that "under no circumstances" should Murray serve as a foster parent in the future.
The findings were reported Sunday by The Seattle Times , after Oregon's Department of Human Services unearthed old records - previously thought to have been destroyed - at the newspaper's request.
In a written statement Sunday, Murray said the child-welfare investigator never interviewed him. He said the allegations were fully investigated and prosecutors never brought charges.
"I have said from the beginning that I never harmed or had an inappropriate relationship with Jeff Simpson. That remains just as true today as when I first said it. I have never engaged in sexual activity with Jeff Simpson or with any other minor," Murray said in the statement.
Simpson, Murray's former foster son, is one of four men who publicly accused him this spring of sexually abusing him long ago. Murray adamantly denies the allegations, but declined to seek re-election.
Read the full statement by Mayor Ed Murray:
I have said from the beginning that I never harmed or had an inappropriate relationship with Jeff Simpson. That remains just as true today as when I first said it. I have never engaged in sexual activity with Jeff Simpson or with any other minor.
The Seattle Times story today does not change the basic facts of what happened in 1984, nor does it offer any tangible new evidence to buttress Jeff’s claim. More than thirty years ago, Jeff made an accusation against me – and, contrary to what he had previously told the Times and other local media, against another foster parent.
Those accusations were fully investigated at the time, and the District Attorney decided there was too much doubt to go forward with a case against me or the other foster parent. In fact, after examining the hundreds of pages of documents generated by the investigation, the District Attorney actually withdrew the case from the Grand Jury.
The Child Protective Services documents the Times based its story on obviously do not tell the full story. Consistent with the findings of the District Attorney that the accusations could not be proven, there is a record with numerous accounts from others who found considerable credibility issues with Jeff and his claims.
Jeff’s case worker at CPS never interviewed me or shared her findings with me or my attorney. That she believed Jeff's claims at the time and advocated on his behalf is painful to see, but does not change the fact that, based on the totality of the evidence that was collected, the District Attorney declined to file charges.
The District Attorney wrote that her withdrawing of the case does not mean that Jeff Simpson’s claims are false. But this statement should not be taken to mean that she believed them to be true.
“Thirty-three years ago, I opened my home to a young man who, like all children, I believed deserved a stable, supportive home environment. Given my honest and heartfelt commitment to creating this for Jeff, his accusations were and remain incredibly painful, especially given that none of them are based in truth or reality. It is my sincerest hope now – as it was then – that he is provided the help and support he needs to lead a happy life.