SEATTLE – Seattle Mayor Ed Murray on Wednesday denied knowing or having sex with a 46-year-old man who has accused the mayor of sexually abusing him when he was a teenager.
In new court filings Wednesday, the man suing Murray over alleged sex abuse in the 1980s publicly identified himself as Delvonn Heckard, from the Seattle suburb of Kent.
Heckard told the Seattle Times he decided to go public because he has nothing to hide and did nothing wrong. He thinks doing so will prompt people to believe his claims. Reached by telephone, Heckard declined to speak to The Associated Press.
The AP typically does not identify alleged victims of sex abuse, but Heckard said he wants his name made public.
Murray has vigorously denied Heckard’s claims and told reporters earlier this month that he did not know who “D.H.” was after the lawsuit was filed.
In a written statement Wednesday, Murray said: “I can state categorically that I have never had a sexual relationship with this individual, Delvonn Heckard, of any kind or at any time.”
The mayor also said he has never paid for sex and has never had sex with a minor.
Murray says he just learned of Heckard’s name Wednesday and that “his name is not familiar to me.” The mayor said it’s possible that he met Heckard since he has encountered thousands of people during his decades of public service.
Heckard was identified only by his initials in the original lawsuit filed earlier this month against Murray.
In the lawsuit, Heckard said that the mayor “raped and molested him” over several years beginning in 1986 when Heckard was a 15-year-old crack cocaine addict and Murray was in his 30s. Two other men told The Times they met Murray while living in a center for troubled teens and that he paid them for sex in the 1980s.
“Once people hear me talk, they’ll be able to feel my spirit, and they’ll have no doubts that what I’m saying is true,” Heckard told the newspaper in an interview.
Murray, who faces a re-election campaign this year, has said the allegations are politically motivated by gay rights foes.
During his 18 years as a state lawmaker, Murray was the prime sponsor of Washington state’s gay marriage law, spearheaded an effort to protect LGBTQ youth in public schools and led the state’s push to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Heckard’s lawyer, Lincoln Beauregard, denied in the amended lawsuit that Heckard’s claims were politically motivated.
It said Heckard “is an openly gay man with no real political inclinations.”