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City Council President Bruce Harrell becomes Seattle’s 54th mayor; Ed Murray steps down

Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell took the oath of office Wednesday afternoon, a day after a fifth man accused Mayor Ed Murray of child sexual abuse dating back several decades.

Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell took the oath of office to become mayor Wednesday, as Ed Murray, disgraced by allegations of child sexual abuse, ended his time at City Hall.

The moment was bittersweet for Harrell, a Seattle native who advanced from Garfield High School to the University of Washington football team, a legal career and three terms on the council.

The 58-year-old assumed the city’s highest office after Murray on Tuesday announced he would step down amid allegations that he sexually abused multiple teenagers decades ago, including a younger cousin. The cousin’s accusation was first made public Tuesday in The Seattle Times.

Murray did not attend the brief swearing-in ceremony.

In remarks before taking the oath a bit after 5 p.m., Harrell said it’s time for the city to heal. He said the city should be looking for ways to support survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

“I personally believe now is not the time for division or taking sides. For me it’s a time for healing,” he said.

But in a session with reporters, Harrell later added, “If any kind of heinous act was committed … certainly a person should be judged for that.”

In the summer, after four men had accused Murray of abusing them when they were teenagers, Harrell did not urge Murray to resign. Only two council members did.

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In July he told reporters, “I don’t want to be judged for anything 33 years ago … And I would challenge each of you to think about where you were 33 years ago. The question is are you doing your job today right now?”

The city charter’s language on the transition of power ensures that Harrell’s time as mayor will be short.

Though the city charter…

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