An Oregon child-welfare investigator found in 1984 that Seattle Mayor Ed Murray likely sexually abused his foster son while living in Portland, The Seattle Times reported this morning.
State officials at the time asserted that Murray should never be certified as a foster parent in Oregon again, and the Multnomah County prosecutor declined to press charges only because the alleged victim was emotionally unstable.
The release of the sexual-abuse investigation files by Oregon state officials is a major development in the scandal surrounding the Seattle mayor, who has been accused by several men of sexually abusing them when they were teenagers. The Seattle Times first requested the records this spring, then appealed the denial—citing Murray's press conference where he claimed to have been exonerated.
The Times explained this morning how it won the appeal and received the records, which state officials for a time believed had been destroyed.
The documents contradict public statements by Murray that claimed abuse allegations had been debunked, including statements he made to The Seattle Times when questioned about the sexual abuse.
The case files are damning.
"In the professional judgement of this caseworker who has interviewed numerous children of all ages and of all levels of emotional disturbance regarding sexual abuse, Jeff Simpson has been sexually abused by … Edward Murray," an official wrote in the documents discovered by The Times.
Oregon Child Protective Services determined that Jeff Simpson's accusations against his foster father were valid—but the case never made it to criminal court because Simpson had a troubled personality that would have made the case difficult to try, said Mary Tomlinson, then-deputy district attorney for Multnomah County.
However, Tomlinson added that the decision not to prosecute did not mean that the DA doubted Simpson.
The Child Protective Services investigation did not need to meet the same standards as a criminal case, and it was able to reach the conclusion that Murray was likely guilty of abuse and permanently bar him from serving as a foster parent.
Murray still defends himself against the allegations, saying because he was never indicted or convicted, the accusations have no basis.
"All those records exist," Murray told The Seattle Times. "Also, that a prosecutor and grand jury investigated it and didn't pursue it, all those facts exist."