The City of Seattle has announced a $150,000 settlement with one of the men who alleged former Seattle mayor Ed Murray raped and molested them in the 1980s.
Delvonn Heckard had filed a lawsuit in early April, which he withdrew in June, after Murray announced he would not seek reelection. Heckard claims Murray paid him for sex while living in Capitol Hill; he had been a homeless youth.
Five men publicly accused Murray of sexually abusing them when they were young men in the 1970s and ‘80s before he resigned in September, the last being his cousin, Joseph Dyer. Dyer accused the former mayor of sexually abusing him while they were sharing a room in New York in the 1970s.
The Seattle Times was first to break allegations of sexual abuse against Murray last year.
Heckard refiled his lawsuit against Murray in October. The City of Seattle was a co-defendant, as Heckard’s lawsuit claimed the then-mayor had used his position to defame him.
Heckard’s attorneys released a statement to the press stating their client is appreciative of the city’s “offer to amicably resolve this matter and to bring this community some peace at the end of this difficult year.” The statement adds that the attorneys will be donating their fees to sexual assault recovery organizations. Lincoln Beauregard and Julie Kays will reportedly donate $25,000 to the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, while Lawand Anderson will donate $12,500 each to the Harborview Sexual Assault & Trauma Unit and the Silent Task Force.
In a news release, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said he worked with Beauregard over the holiday season to come to the agreed upon settlement.
“With this settlement, the City takes an important step in putting this sad chapter behind us, limiting litigation expenses, and allowing Mr. Heckard to move forward with his life,” Holmes said in the release.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, who had accepted Murray’s endorsement early in her campaign and then asked that he step down following Dyer’s accusations, agreed that settling the lawsuit was the right thing to do.
“As someone who has represented victims of sexual assault, I know this has caused a lot of pain and trauma for Mr. Heckard as well as many survivors,” Durkan said in the release.
Murray issued his own statement in support of the settlement, but added he was prepared to continue defending himself in court. He continues to deny all allegations of sexual abuse against him. Following the Seattle Times report regarding Heckard’s allegations, Murray even released a doctor’s report on his genitalia; an effort to prove a claim made by Heckard about an identifying mole was false.
In his statement, Murray apologized if he made any statements “that were interpreted as an attempt to ‘blame the victim’ or were in any way insensitive to victims of sexual abuse and assault.”
“While part of me wanted to continue to fight these untrue allegations, the ending of the litigation process will allow the City to focus on the important issues it faces and offer an opportunity for the healing process to begin,” Murray said in his statement.