Portland man says he was abused as a teen by Seattle mayor
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Jeff Simpson said he doesn't know the man suing Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, but said their stories seemed eerily similar; both vulnerable youth preyed upon by a powerful abuser.
“Quit victimizing us and just be honest and tell the truth,” said Simpson, sharing what he’d say to Murray if he had the chance.
Simpson, who lives in the Portland area, is now one of three men publicly accusing Murray of sexually abusing them as teens. Simpson said he wouldn’t hesitate to help the plaintiff in this case, known only as “D.H.”
“I absolutely would testify,” said Simpson. “l would absolutely take any lie detector test.”
Simpson said he met Murray when he was a 6-year-old orphan, living at what used to be the Parry Center For Children in Southeast Portland. At the time, Murray was a student at the University of Portland.
“He would do special things, take me to movies,” recalled Simpson of the time he spent with Murray.
Simpson said the abuse began when he was 13 and went on for the next four years. He said Murray would pay him for sex—money Simpson would use to buy drugs. He later did time in prison, always carrying with him what happened.
“I wanted to end my life, it's hurt so much,” he said.
In 2002, Simpson said his life changed, crediting his family and faith in God. He got treatment, and in 2007, the courage to file a lawsuit against Murray. It didn’t get far. Simpson said eventually his lawyer quit, finding their case no match for Murray's legal team.
“He's got such powerful attorneys and people working for him… who am I?” Simpson asked.
Then weeks ago, reporters from The Seattle Times showed up at Simpson's door with word of this new lawsuit. After more than 30 years, Simpson would finally get to tell his story.
“It makes me feel like there really is a God and He really does answer prayers,” said Simpson.
He said his prayer now is that justice will be served. Murray’s legal team is also seeking justice. On Thursday, Murray’s attorney, Bob Sulkin, responded to the lawsuit.
“The allegations are false,” said Sulkin. “[Murray] has not engaged in any inappropriate conduct with a minor.”
Simpson said Murray’s denial brings everything back.
“It victimizes me again and it victimizes all of his victims,” said Simpson. “And you can rest assured that we're not the only ones.”
Simpson said his message to other victims is, “don’t give up,” and he hopes they’ll find the courage to come forward when they’re ready.