Gay Seattle Mayor Ed Murray Resigns Following Fifth Child Abuse Claim, This Time From His Own Family

(Photo: REUTERS/David Ryder)Seattle Mayor Ed Murray speaks with attendees of the March For Science in Seattle, Washington, U.S. April 22, 2017.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray resigned from his position Wednesday afternoon after a fifth accusation of child abuse came to light, this time from his own family.

"While the allegations against me are not true, it is important that my personal issues do not affect the ability of our city government to conduct the public's business. ... It is best for the city if I step aside. To the people of this special city and to my dedicated staff, I am sorry for this painful situation," Murray said in a statement.

The Seattle Times reported on Tuesday that the latest accusations against Murray stemmed from a younger cousin, who said the now former mayor molested him in New York in the 1970s.

Murray, who is gay and married to another man, has been accused on five occasions of having sexually abused teenagers before entering politics.

The politician has maintained his innocence since the accusations first began to emerge in April, and until this week refused calls for him to resign.

City Council member Tim Burgess said that mounting pressure has finally taken its toll, however.

"The accumulation of these accusations and now coming from a family member just made it essential that he resign," Burgess added.

Murray has argued that his progressive political record and gay-rights advocacy has made him a target for people looking to damage his career, The Washington Post reports, and he has blamed the latest allegations from his cousin as stemming from "bad blood between two estranged wings of the family."

The former mayor dropped his re-election bid in May after four men claimed they had been abused by him when they were teenagers. A lawsuit earlier in April accused Murray of having "repeatedly criminally raped and molested" a man when he was a homeless 15-year-old in the 1980s.

Murray's cousin, 54-year-old Joseph Dyer, became the fifth man to speak out, after he accused the former mayor of forcing him into sex when he was 13 at their shared bedroom at Dyer's mother's home in Medford, New York, in the mid-1970s.

The mother, Maryellen Sottile, said that she is glad that Murray has now resigned.

"We hope it helps the others in some way," she added.

City Council President Bruce Harrell has meanwhile said that he will step in as Seattle mayor, and will have to decide whether to remain through the rest of Murray's term.

"I have a plan in place for a seamless transition in order for city operations to continue at the highest standard," Harrell said. "Seattleites deserve a government that holds their full confidence and trust."

He further called the allegations against Murray "unspeakable," and said that the city's criminal justice and social service systems will have to fully investigate the claims.

Council member Kshama Sawant slammed her colleagues for failing to push Murray out of power sooner, however.

"Unfortunately, the majority of the City Council failed to show any such leadership," Sawant said. "Establishment politicians and political operatives do not show courage on an ordinary basis, so this is yet another example."

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