Seattle Mayor Ed Murray probably thought before last week that his biggest problems during an election year would be the real homelessness crisis amidst skyrocketing housing costs. But as of Thursday, Murray is embroiled in a sex scandal that goes back three decades.
Last Thursday, a lawsuit was filed accusing Seattle Mayor Ed Murray of sexually assaulting a minor in the 1980’s. Murray was in his 20’s and 30’s at the time. The alleged victim, who is only referred to as “D.H.” in the filings, was a 15-year-old high school dropout and a drug addict at the time. Murray allegedly paid the boy $10 and $15 payments for at least 50 sexual encounters over a period of four to five years. Allegations Murray has since denied in person and through his attorney.
While these charges will be adjudicated in time, the scandal is made worse by the fact that when Mayor Murray first ran for the position nine years ago, similar allegations were made. In 2008, two men from the Portland area called media outlets in Seattle, including the Seattle Times, claiming that Ed Murray had paid for sexual encounters with them, years prior, after meeting him on a city bus.
Lawsuits were never filed and the Seattle Times, at the time, decided there was not enough evidence provided to warrant reporting the allegations. While that was their decision to make, it’s obvious that the Seattle media is more inclined to protect the mayor and attack the law firm representing the accuser.
The Seattle Times on Saturday, after reporting on the new lawsuit on Thursday and Friday, felt the need to come out and practically apologize to its readers for having to report a story that casts the mayor in a bad light.
A lawsuit of this nature against a public official is news.
When a claim is filed in court, the justice system assures the accused of a thorough public examination of any evidence that is presented, along with the opportunity to present a full defense. The filing of the lawsuit is also, in itself, a matter of public interest.
When we learned this lawsuit was pending, we therefore began looking into the new allegations, along with the earlier ones. We found no connection between the new accuser, identified in the lawsuit as D.H., and the other men. Our reporting revealed similarities among the three accounts, including some graphic details. We felt readers should know.
We don’t take these decisions lightly, and make them only after lengthy discussions. We know this is a disturbing story. But we cannot shy away from important stories simply because they make us uncomfortable.
Beyond the “straight news” media acting like apologetic lapdogs for reporting on the story, the popular Seattle magazine, The Stranger, wasted no time digging into the law firm representing the alleged victim.
The Stranger decided to focus not on the actual attorney’s representing D.H., one who is a founding partner and a Democrat who supports LGBTQ rights privately and publicly, but rather on the firm’s founder who is not involved in the case at all.
D.H.[…]is being represented by three lawyers: Des Moines lawyer Lawand Anderson and Lincoln Beauregard and Julie Kays, who both work at Connelly Law Offices, a firm with offices in Tacoma and Seattle.
Beauregard is a founding member of the office. The founder—John (Jack) Connelly—has a track record of anti-LGBT stances. In 2012, Connelly ran for state senate as a Democrat but opposed same-sex marriage. Last year, Connelly and his wife helped bankroll the campaign for Initiative 1515, an anti-trans bathroom law that failed to get enough signatures to make the ballot. Connelly and his wife, Angela, each donated $25,000 to the effort, according to records from the state Public Disclosure Commission.
Over the years, Connelly has also donated to state politicians in both parties, from Democrats Governor Jay Inslee, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and Seattle City Council member Lorena González to Republican state Senator Steve O’Ban and former state Senator Pam Roach.
Got that? Connelly is a Democrat but not Democrat enough.
The Stranger even includes quotes from Beauregard, one of the attorneys handling the case, as saying of Connelly: “I totally disagree with my partner’s politics.”
He also stated in another email, “I am SUPER pro-gay rights myself. I hope that another gay mayor, who doesn’t molest children, gets elected. And our client is full on gay.”
But we’re supposed to believe that Ed Murray being accused of rape is the work of John Connolly, who is somehow manipulating a fellow partner into going after Seattle’s mayor simply because he’s gay.
Connelly responded via email to The Stranger’s reporting, stating, “Lincoln’s lawsuit has nothing to do with me, or with any political motivation.”
The Stranger also felt the need to point out how appalled they are that Connelly isn’t ashamed of his personal views:
It’s worth noting that Connelly defends his donation to the campaign for Initiative 1515, which would have regulated which public bathrooms and locker rooms trans people could use, by saying “women should have a choice in who they are showering with.” As Sydney reported at the time, those types of arguments for I-1515 were undermined by data. Most sexual assault victims know their attacker, and trans women are more likely to be the survivors of sexual assault than the perpetrators.
Is that really worth noting here? No. Connelly gets to have personal viewpoints and being against 1515 does not automatically make anyone anti-gay. But let us remember the point that is worth noting: Connelly is not the attorney representing D.H. and isn’t involved in the case.
It’s a bizarre world we’ve entered when five months ago Hillary Clinton was telling us that “every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported.” Except if you’re accusing a mayor who happens to be gay, apparently. The Seattle media has shown their hand early on this one.
D.H. can clearly count on no benefit of the doubt from the media or support from other Seattle politicians. The Seattle city council has said they will not comment on the allegations against the mayor.
Sorry, D.H., that standard pack of rabid dogs ready to stand behind and defend even the slightest hint of veracity in a rape or molestation case won’t be mustering for you anytime soon.