Seattle – The city of Seattle will pay a man $150,000 to settle a lawsuit he filed accusing ex-Seattle Mayor Ed Murray of sexually abusing him.
Murray confirmed the settlement Dec. 30. In a statement, Murray said he was “prepared to defend myself in court (as I have been doing at my own expense), but wholeheartedly agree with the city’s decision to pay $150,000 to avoid the cost and uncertainty of litigation.”
"I did not molest or have any sexual contact with the plaintiff," Murray said in a statement.
However, four other people made allegations of sexual abuse against Murray, who dropped out of his re-election campaign and then resigned as mayor.
The Seattle Times reported that the former mayor will be responsible for covering only his own private legal costs, with the city responsible for the payout to Heckard.
And Heckard agreed to drop his case against the city and Murray. Heckard had originally named only Murray as a defendant. But he withdrew his original complaint and refiled it with the city as the co-defendant. Heckard said that Murray used his public office and city resources to slander Heckard and his attorneys during months of public denials while serving as mayor, according to the Seattle Times.
Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes released a statement that said: "With this settlement, the city takes an important step in putting this sad chapter behind us, limiting litigation expenses, and allowing Mr. Heckard to move forward with his life."
Current Mayor Jenny Durkan also approved of the settlement.
“I agree with the city attorney that settling this lawsuit is the right thing to do and allows our city to begin to heal,” Durkan said. “As someone who has represented victims of sexual assault, I know this has caused a lot of pain and trauma for Mr. Heckard as well as many survivors.”
Heckard's attorney, Lincoln C. Beauregard, said his fee of $50,000 would be donated to sexual assault recovery organizations.
"This case was never about money," Beauregard said in his statement. "But the settlement funds will greatly assist Mr. Heckard in his continued recovery."