Who was Ed Murray in the 1980s?
Editor's Note: This story originally shared on April 19, 2017. Ed Murray resigned from office on Tuesday.
There’s a story of two Ed Murrays in the 1980s: His accusers describe a lecherous molester preying on young, drug addicted, and parentless teenage boys. One of the alleged victims, who is not suing the mayor, said the abuse began in Murray’s Victorian home in Portland in the mid-80s when we was 15-years-old.
“I was hysterical, and he freaked out. He said I’m so sorry, so sorry, please don’t tell anyone, this won’t happen again,” said Jeff Simpson, who is now age 49.
Then there’s the version of a professional working in the legal field, and an activist committed to protecting the civil rights of the LGBT community. On the side, a fun loving guy who ran around with a pack of gay friends his own age.
“I was at the bars, that’s what gay men did in those days. We didn’t have the phone things. We went to bars and stood around to try to meet people. We went to discos; that was the big thing back then,” said Murray. “I was a normal, out, 80s gay man. I had boyfriends, or I was dating.”
A frequent haunt for the mayor and his friends was the popular gay bar, Neighbours Nightclub on Capitol Hill. According to one of his best friends during those years, Manny Apostol of Seattle, that was one of many spots they regularly hit on the weekends.
“I remember just dragging him out to the bars every weekend and just saying ‘hey, let’s go out, let’s go dancing, let’s hit some of the clubs in Seattle,’” said Apostol.
Apostol was eager to speak to KING to defend his longtime friend. He said he spent so much time with Murray it would have been hard for him to hide a life of committing sex crimes.
“Spending so much time with him, I cannot even imagine him doing what supposedly happened. I believe him 100 percent, absolutely. Which is why I’m doing this interview.”
Another friend ready to defend Murray was Mark Kramer. He worked as a public defender with Murray in Portland in the mid 80’s and was his neighbor and good friend.
“Ed was comfortable in his sexuality, he was out, he was social, he had friends,” said Kramer.
Kramer said he knew Jeff Simpson well. He’s been the most outspoken accuser. He was Murray’s foster child for a short time in the home next to Kramer’s.
“We didn’t see him cavorting, socializing with any other teenagers, underage folks. He had a social life, he had friends, as I recall he had a boyfriend for that period of time. So there was nothing unusual that we saw in that relationship,” said Kramer.
Delvonn Heckard, the 46-year-old man from Kent who filed a lawsuit against Murray on April 6, said the mayor led a secret life in those years. Heckard said Murray abused him inside his apartment on Harvard Ave East in Seattle and that as a drug-addicted teenager Murray paid him for sexual favors.
“He can’t pretend he don’t know who I am,” said Heckard.
Manny Apostol said he was inside the apartment on Harvard Ave many times. He said he never saw teenage boys, never saw Heckard, and never heard his name.
“I have no doubt in my mind that this did not happen,” said Apostol.