The city of Seattle has settled a lawsuit with the one of the men accusing former mayor Ed Murray of sexual abuse, the city attorney's office announced Saturday.
The city attorney's office said the city, a defendant in the lawsuit, settled with 46-year-old Delvonn Heckard and will pay $150,000. Heckard accused Murray of sexually abusing him in the 1980s for years starting when Heckard was 15 years old.
“With this settlement, the city takes an important step in putting this sad chapter behind us, limiting litigation expenses, and allowing Mr. Heckard to move forward with his life,” said City Attorney Holmes in a statement Saturday evening. A mayor's office spokesperson said the parties reached the agreement late Saturday afternoon. “Mr. Beauregard and I personally spent many hours working on this settlement over the hectic holiday season, and together we fashioned our best opportunity for healing for all.”
Heckard first sued Murray on April 6 alleging the sexual abuse, prompting Murray to end his re-election bid one month later. While Heckard dropped the lawsuit in June after some unfavorable rulings by a King County Superior Court judge, the allegations ultimately brought a total of five accusers forward and led to Murray's resignation in September.
Two other men accused Murray of sexual abuse years ago. When Heckard dropped the lawsuit in June, Murray considered a write-in campaign before he chose instead to endorse Jenny Durkan for mayor.
Heckard's attorney filed another lawsuit against Murray on October 23, this time including the city and accusing city officials of negligence and defamation.
In a released statement Saturday, Lincoln Beauregard, one of Heckard's attorneys, said Heckard appreciates the city's offer "to amicably resolve this matter and to bring this community some peace at the end of this difficult year."
“This case was never about the money, but the settlement funds will greatly assist Mr. Heckard in his continued recovery," Beauregard said.
Murray continued to deny the allegations up until his exit from City Hall. In a statement to reporters Saturday, the former mayor continued to deny them and addressed backlash in his earlier defense, which The Stranger published as an op-ed.
(2/2) Murray also apologizes - sort of - for statements he made "if" they "were interpreted" as an attempt to "blame the victim" pic.twitter.com/tlsDRXmdpR— Jim Brunner (@Jim_Brunner) December 31, 2017
Beauregard said $100,000 of the settlement will go to Heckard, and attorneys will donate the rest to sexual assault survivor support organizations: $25,000 to the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, $12,500 to the Harborview Sexual Assault & Trauma Unit, and $12,500 to the Silent Task Force.
“I agree with the city attorney that settling this lawsuit is the right thing to do and allows our city to begin to heal," Mayor Durkan said in a released statement. "As someone who has represented victims of sexual assault, I know this has caused a lot of pain and trauma for Mr. Heckard as well as many survivors."
Updated 7:47pm on December 30, 2017, after receiving another press statement.