Man refiles suit claiming sex abuse against Seattle ex-mayor
SEATTLE (AP) — A suburban Seattle man who withdrew a lawsuit that started a chain of sex abuse accusations against Seattle’s former mayor refiled the legal case Monday and included claims against the city.
Delvonn Heckard’s new lawsuit was filed in King County Superior Court, The Seattle Times reported .
The suit accuses former mayor Ed Murray of raping and molesting Heckard as a teenager and blames the city of Seattle for enabling Murray to use his political office to slander Heckard and others for months as the mayor denied the allegations.
“Mr. Murray spread false and harmful information about Delvonn, and his attorneys, in an effort to win re-election and extinguish these claims,” the lawsuit contends.
Heckard’s complaint also blames unnamed members of Seattle’s “political elite” for empowering Murray’s attacks on victims by refusing to seek the mayor’s removal from office.
“These actions, enabling, and watching future leaders of the community accept Mr. Murray’s endorsement, caused added emotional distress and humiliation to Delvonn, and childhood sex abuse victims everywhere,” the suit states.
Murray, through his personal spokesman, declined to comment.
A spokeswoman for City Attorney Pete Holmes said his office hadn’t received a copy of the lawsuit and doesn’t typically comment on pending litigation.
Murray, 62, was in his first term as mayor when he resigned Sept. 12, hours after The Seattle Times reported his cousin, Joseph Dyer, had become the fifth man to publicly accuse Murray of child sexual abuse decades ago.
Heckard is the only accuser to sue Murray. His latest legal complaint partly echoes details included in the initial lawsuit, filed in April.
Both suits allege Murray began paying small amounts of cash to Heckard for sex in 1986, when Heckard was a homeless 15-year-old drug addict.
Heckard, 46, has said he came forward with his accusations only after his father’s recent death and his own subsequent counseling for addiction problems prompted him to seek “accountability” against Murray.
Murray adamantly denied the allegations. He claimed they were driven by homophobic opponents targeting him for his progressive record that championed gay rights.
Murray and his attorneys initially attacked his accusers’ past drug use and criminal histories while vowing he wouldn’t drop out of the upcoming mayor’s race.
Heckard dropped his lawsuit in mid-June, vowing to refile the case after Murray left office and Heckard completed drug rehab.
Later that month, Heckard, who self-identifies as gay and contends he isn’t political, filed a tort claim against the city for $1 million to $3 million in damages, alleging the mayor’s public claims that Heckard was part of an anti-gay plot of lies amounted to defamation.
Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com