Jeff Simpson, one of the first men to accuse former mayor Ed Murray of child sexual abuse in 2008, filed a $1 million claim against the city on Wednesday alleging negligence and defamation and notifying the city of his intent to sue.
The claim said Simpson will sue the city and Murray over public statements made about him when the Seattle mayor first faced charges in April. Murray and his personal spokesman Jeff Reading in denying allegations discredited Simpson and others by bringing up their criminal backgrounds and accused them of being part of a coordinated anti-gay agenda.
The claim also heavily used The Seattle Times's reporting by citing text messages among Seattle council members and Reading; it said the city covered up the accusations since 2015 (when an accuser reached out to the city), used city resources to defend Murray and hold private meetings among officials, and craft responses to the detriment of Simpson.
"Mr. Simpson is simply the survivor of horrific sexual abuse who sought justice and accountability from his abuser," wrote his attorney, Cheryl Snow.
It went on: "Mr. Murray and his team were allowed to use and abuse the full might and power of Murray’s position to wage a full-fledged campaign of disparagement and slander against Mr. Simpson and other survivors who came forward. And the leaders of the City of Seattle, who oftentimes publicly (and privately) sided with Mr. Murray, did nothing to stop his abuse of power."
The witness list includes top city officials: council members Sally Bagshaw and Lorena Gonzalez, and now-deputy mayor Mike Fong, who was Murray's chief of staff.
Simpson, now 51, along with another accuser, Lloyd Anderson, came forward with sex abuse allegations to media organizations in 2008, when Murray was a state senator. Heckard's lawsuit against Murray and the city ended in December with a $150,000 settlement.
Simpson was Murray's foster son and a teenager when the alleged molestation began. Simpson finally got a lawyer in 2008, but his attorney dropped the case shortly afterward—not because he didn't believe him, but because the statute of limitations had expired, The Stranger reported.
A Seattle Times report in July showed that in 1984, a Child Protective Services caseworker also found Simpson's claim of child sexual abuse credible, which barred Murray from being a foster parent again.