Delvonn Heckard, the man who accused Seattle Mayor Ed Murray of abusing him, withdrew his lawsuit this week. But he said he did it at his attorneys' behest; if it were up to him, he would have forged ahead.
“I put my college on hold and everything just to deal with this, and then for this to happen, it’s just a lot to take in,” he said. “But I guess my attorneys know what they’re doing.”
Heckard's attorneys said he needed to finish counseling and recovery, and that they would file the suit again once Murray was no longer in office.
Although just Heckard filed a lawsuit, three other men came forward to say they, too, had been abused. Murray vehemently denied their claims and questioned publicly whether one of the men could be trusted given his criminal record.
The lawsuit, filed in April, resulted in Murray's decision not to run for a second term. But at a press conference last week after the lawsuit was dropped, Murray backed off his accusers and turned his ire on the attorneys representing Heckard, saying they were politically motivated.
He also said he was considering a write-in campaign for the primary in August.
For his part, Heckard said he doesn’t care if the mayor runs again.
“That’s not important to me that he’s in office,” he said. “What’s important to me is that people know what he’s done to me, and what type of individual he is, and him being held accountable and him owning up to his behaviors.
“A ‘Sorry, I apologize, I did wrong back in the day’ or whatever. Just to sit up and constantly lie on the TV and say that you didn’t do this things — it’s just angering to me. It sends rage down through my body because I don’t trust him.
“Sometimes I’m kind of nervous to walk through the streets, because if this man will sit there and lie on TV and lie about what he’s done to us, these men, he’s capable of doing anything and I don’t trust him.”
In the lawsuit, Heckard said that he met Murray, then 32, while riding the number 7 bus on Capitol Hill.
He had attended Nathan Hale High School in Seattle’s north end but dropped out after ninth grade. At 15, he was homeless and his parents were on drugs, according to the suit. He, too, used drugs.
Heckard said that he and Murray struck up a “friendly interaction,” and that Murray invited him to his apartment. “The interaction turned sexual,” the suit said. Heckard said Murray asked him his age when he first had him over to his apartment, and that he answered truthfully: age 15. The age of consent was — and still is — age 16 in Washington state.
According to the suit: “Mr. Murray propositioned D.H. in the form of sex acts for money – a form of child prostitution. Addicted to drugs at the time, D.H. was willing to do whatever Mr. Murray asked for as little as $10-$20.”
The sex acts included intercourse, the suit alleged.
“At times, the sex turned aggressive, beyond a point to which [Heckard] was comfortable and/or felt that to which he had agreed,” the suit said.
Murray has vehemently denied the accusations and suggested they were part of a “political takedown.”
“I will continue to explore the connections between my accusers, anti-LGBTQ groups and each other,” Murray wrote in an editorial. “It is also not a coincidence that the lawsuit was timed to be filed just weeks before the campaign filing deadline.”
Heckard said he’s received angry messages blaming him for what they assume to be false claims. He said the mayor is not being held accountable.
“My whole life has been turned upside down since I brought this out,” he said. “I’m healing, but it’s like, I don’t trust this man.”
While Heckard’s lawyer called forcing Murray to drop his reelection bid “mission accomplished,” Heckard said he will push forth.
“Whether I have that attorney or whatever attorney,” he said, “I’m not done with it. It’s not over with.”