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Oregon investigator concluded that Ed Murray mayor abused foster son in 1984

Lewis Kamb and Jim Brunner, The Seattle Times on

Published in News & Features

SEATTLE -- An Oregon child-welfare investigator concluded that Ed Murray sexually abused his foster son in the early 1980s, leading state officials to assert that "under no circumstances should Mr. Murray be certified" as a foster parent in the future, according to public records obtained by The Seattle Times.

The investigation by Oregon Child Protective Services of Jeff Simpson's allegations determined them to be valid -- meaning the agency believed that Murray, who is now mayor of Seattle, sexually abused Simpson, the records show.

"In the professional judgement of this caseworker who has interviewed numerous children of all ages and of all levels of emotional disturbance regarding sexual abuse, Jeff Simpson has been sexually abused by ... Edward Murray," CPS caseworker Judy Butler wrote in the May 1984 assessment.

Murray last week repeated in an interview that he never abused Simpson, and he noted that prosecutors decided decades ago not to charge him.

Still, the newly disclosed records reveal that a Multnomah County, Ore., prosecutor withdrew a criminal case against Murray because of Simpson's troubled personality, not because she thought he was lying.

"It was Jeff's emotional instability, history of manipulative behavior and the fact that he has again run away and made himself unavailable that forced my decision," Deputy District Attorney Mary Tomlinson wrote.

 

"We could not be sure of meeting the high burden of proof in a criminal case -- of proof beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty. However, this in no way means that the District Attorney's Office has decided Jeff's allegations are not true."

Unlike a criminal case, CPS child-abuse investigations determine whether "reasonable cause" exists -- a lower standard of proof than for criminal cases, but still meaning the abuse likely occurred.

The newly obtained records, previously thought destroyed, provide the clearest picture yet of the investigation of Murray, who was then a paralegal who had worked as a counselor to Simpson and other troubled children.

The documents, released to The Seattle Times this month by Oregon's Department of Human Services, also contradict public statements in recent months by Murray and his lawyer contending that investigators had debunked Simpson's allegations at the time as false.

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