Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, the first out gay man to hold that post, announced his resignation today after a fifth man came forward with allegations that Murray had sexually abused him.
Joseph Dyer, a cousin of Murray’s, said the abuse occurred in the 1970s, when Dyer was 13, in New York State, The Seattle Times reports. Murray is eight years older.
Murray, who was elected mayor in 2013 after having been Washington State’s first openly gay legislator, had already decided not to seek reelection in light of the earlier allegations. His resignation will be effective at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
“While the allegations against me are not true, it is important that my personal issues do not affect the ability of our City government to conduct the public’s business,” Murray said in a statement, according to the Times.
City Council member Bruce Harrell will become interim mayor and will decide within five days whether to serve the remainder of Murray’s term, the Times reports.
Seattle will elect a new mayor in November. Jenny Durkan, a lesbian who is a former federal prosecutor, and Cary Moon, an urban planner, emerged as the top two candidates in a nonpartisan primary last month and will be on the November 7 ballot.
Dyer is the fifth man to publicly accuse Murray of sexual abuse since April, thte Times reports. He said Murray forced him to have sex when the two shared a bedroom at Dyer's mother's home in Medford, N.Y., according to a story published in the Times this morning.
Murray denied this and other accusations. He attributed Dyer's claim to family rivalries, and he said others had targeted him because of his work for LGBT rights and other progressive causes.
Another accuser, Lloyd Anderson, issued a statement saying, “I feel victory, but saddened that it required another victim to come forward for him to resign. I wonder how many other victims are out there.”
Several public officials have been calling for Murray's resignation for several months. Durkan had not been among them until Dyer's accusations were publicized today. “It’s clear that it is in everybody’s best interest for him to resign,” she said, according to the Times. “As a parent, former public official and openly gay woman, these allegations are beyond sad and tragic; no official is above the law.” Moon had already called on Murray to resign.