Investigation into Records of Sexually Abused Foster Kids Ensnares Seattle Mayor

by Matt Agorist, The Free Thought Project: Seattle, WA — Over the past several years, multiple victims have come forward and accused Seattle Mayor Ed Murray of sexually abusing them when they were children in the 1980’s. Delvonn Heckard, one of the alleged victims, filed a lawsuit against the mayor in April, setting off an investigation by the Seattle Times. What the Times found was nothing short of bombshell and vindication for his alleged victims.

As the Free Thought Project reported in April, Murray’s attorney publicly denounced the allegations of sexual abuse from the victims. One of those victims was Jeff Simpson, whose case prompted the controversy in 2008.

“The previous accusers were investigated by law enforcement and the press and found to be not credible and their claims meritless,” attorney Robert Sulkin told reporters in April.

However, these claims were easily made because the Oregon Department of Human Services’ (DHS) foster-parent records of his abuse were said to be destroyed. The mayor himself even felt secure enough to say last month that the press not finding the supposed records of his abuse of Simpson demonstrated his innocence — a move he now likely regrets.

Not content with hearing that the records had been destroyed, the Times tried, once again, to obtain them. Using Murray’s statements urging the media to pursue those records and noting the victim’s authorization to release the details of the abuse, DHS finally released the information.

“We used our discretion to determine disclosure was in the public interest to protect other children and prevent anyone else from being put in a similar situation,” said Caroline Burnell, manager of the legal unit for DHS’ public-affairs office. “A person in a position of power and authority could use that authority to coerce or otherwise force people into a vulnerable position.”

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