Former Seattle Mayor Ed Murray resigned in September 2017 after facing five allegations that he sexually abused men when they were teens, and now one of those men has been found dead.
Delvonn Heckard is one of Murray’s accusers as evidenced in a 2017 lawsuit where he was identified as “D.H.”
The Seattle Times reports:
Delvonn Heckard, the Kent man whose sexual abuse lawsuit against Seattle Mayor Ed Murray last year prompted other allegations to come to light — eventually leading to Murray’s resignation — was found dead early Friday of an apparent drug overdose in an Auburn motel.
The King County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed Heckard’s death on Friday afternoon, noting the official cause and manner of his death are pending.
About 2:05 a.m., police and fire medics responded to a room at the Auburn Motel on Auburn Way South for the apparent drug overdose of a middle-aged black male, Auburn Assistant Chief Bill Pierson said early Friday.
Pierson, who declined to identify Heckard, said medics unsuccessfully attempted to resuscitate the man. Police interviewed a witness, he said, and found “some type of medication in the room, as well as some illicit drug paraphernalia.”
Heckard had just turned 47 on Valentine’s Day this year.
He had also received a $100,000 payment as part of a $150,000 settlement with the city of Seattle to dismiss his suit against Murray and the city. A trust fund was set up so that he would not spend the money too quickly, according to his attorney Lincoln Beauregard.
The cause of death has not been determined yet.
Beauregard tweeted out a short video interview of Heckard last year.
Delvonn Heckard speaks on video to the issue of Mayor Murray remaining in office. pic.twitter.com/9bRtyMwcdA
— Lincoln Beauregard (@quietplease321) May 8, 2017
Two days after his death, his attorney tweeted, “A hero died today.”
A hero died today.
— Lincoln Beauregard (@quietplease321) February 16, 2018
Heckard’s lawsuit brought the allegations against Murray saying that Murray sexually abused him on a number of occasions, beginning in 1986, for payments of $10 and $20. D.H. was also addicted to crack-cocaine at the time.
“I have been dealing with this for over 30 years,” the man, now sober for a year, said in an interview with The Seattle Times. He said he was coming forward as part of a “healing process” after years of “the shame, the embarrassment, the guilt, the humiliation that I put myself through and that he put me through.”
Matt Agorist also reminds us of another of Murray’s accusers and how the system sought to silence him by claiming his records were destroyed, but then he discovered they were lying and the records were released.
Murray’s attorney publicly denounced the allegations of sexual abuse from the victims. One of those victims was Jeff Simpson, whose case prompted the controversy in 2008.
“The previous accusers were investigated by law enforcement and the press and found to be not credible and their claims meritless,” attorney Robert Sulkin told reporters in April.
However, these claims were easily made because the Oregon Department of Human Services’ (DHS) foster-parent records of his abuse were said to be destroyed. The mayor himself even felt secure enough to say last year that the press not finding the supposed records of his abuse of Simpson demonstrated his innocence — a move he came to regret.
Not content with hearing that the records had been destroyed, the Times tried, once again, to obtain them. Using Murray’s statements urging the media to pursue those records and noting the victim’s authorization to release the details of the abuse, DHS finally released the information.
“We used our discretion to determine disclosure was in the public interest to protect other children and prevent anyone else from being put in a similar situation,” said Caroline Burnell, manager of the legal unit for DHS’ public-affairs office. “A person in a position of power and authority could use that authority to coerce or otherwise force people into a vulnerable position.”
As the Seattle Times reports:
The Times emailed a video link of the news conference to DHS two days later, noting those statements. The agency considered the totality of information provided when deciding to release the records, Burnell said. They included the Child Protective Services assessment finding Simpson’s allegations valid; a detective’s reports citing two additional witnesses; and a letter from the District Attorney’s Office indicating prosecutors had not determined Simpson was lying.
The records, dating back to 1984, explicitly noted that Ed Murray should “never again be utilized as a certified CSD resource for children.” It also showed that a criminal case was brought against Murray by prosecutors but in spite of the multiple accusations, charges were somehow never filed.
Speaking in an interview this week with KPTV, Simpson noted that he would take a lie detector and do whatever it takes to make sure other children don’t suffer the same fate as he did.
“Mayor Murray is a child molester,” Simpson said at the time. “The worst things that you can think of were what Ed has done to me.”
As KPTV reported, Simpson said he was told by state agencies over and over that the records in his case had long been destroyed. Learning they not only existed but were released publicly, he said was an answer to his prayers.
“It’s nothing short of a miracle,” he said. “All of a sudden, not only do we get the paperwork but we get all of the records that were supposedly destroyed.”
The records vindicating Simpson’s claims are just the beginning. It now gives the accusations of the other potential victims merit as well.
There are at least ten current and former mayors who stand accused of sexual crimes against children. While accusations do not merit guilt, at least in the case of Ed Murray there seems to be far more here than mere accusations.
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