Tatiana Maxwell, a real estate developer originally from Cheyenne, is accusing Wyoming Secretary of State and possible gubernatorial candidate Ed Murray of sexually assaulting her at the office when she was a young intern.
Maxwell made the detailed charge in a lengthy Facebook post. Murray adamantly denies it. The accusation dates to 1982. Maxwell was only 18-years-old and a recent high school graduate when she says the assault occurred at the law firm whether they both worked, she as an intern; Murray had recently graduated from law school, according to Wyoming Public Media.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Maxwell Accused Ed Murray of Wrestling Her Down to the Carpet & Sexually Assaulting Her Decades Ago
Tatiana Maxwell first made the allegations in a December 11, 2017 Facebook post, using the #metoo hashtag that has swept the nation since Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual misconduct by a series of women.
Here is Maxwell’s post in its entirety:
For over 35 years, I’ve had this on my mind. I told close friends about the incident at the time and my then husband some years later. As this issue has grown across our country, my experience comes back to the forefront of my mind. You know, part of the problem is that it feels distasteful to talk about it. This is not polite talk and, somehow, embarrassing. But the reason why it isn’t polite talk isn’t because it shouldn’t be talked about. It’s because it isn’t decent behavior. And the person who should be embarrassed isn’t the person who talks about it, it’s the person who did it.
As this issue of sexual harassment and assault has grown, my daughters have asked about my experience. As I described it, they asked what I did about it and the answer is, nothing. I did not know what to do and I don’t believe there was really any option available that would have properly addressed the problem. But it is a different time and they have encouraged me to speak up. I am gratified to know that they have a different understanding of things and know what to do if something like this would happen to one of them.
The summer after I graduated from high school I got a summer job at the law firm of Dray, Madison and Thompson in Cheyenne. As I was exploring my future in law or legal advocacy, I was grateful for the opportunity to work at such a respected, established firm. The year before, I had worked for Bill Thompson’s mother, the inimitable Thyra Thompson – then our Secretary of State. She was a major role model for me and was instrumental in inspiring me to want to become a lawyer and eventually go into politics – my goals at the time. I spent my days doing the typical grunt work of updating the law books, keeping an eye on the kitchen supplies and running errands but I was excited to see lawyers at work, be included in a highly respected law firm and have this experience on my resume.
Besides the partners, they had also hired a young law school graduate and Cheyenne native Eddie Murray. He was about 5 years older than I, I believe, and launching his career at the law firm I suppose. He was older, handsome and from an old Cheyenne family but I didn’t really know him.
It’s hard to remember exactly why he invited me to hang out but I remember it seemed strange. I was no great beauty, 5 years is a big gap at that stage of life, and he came from what I thought was an entirely different world. I also remember thinking how weird it was that I was supposed to meet him at the office after hours, but, again, I didn’t have much experience in the world.
And I don’t remember so much of how it started until it started to get weird. I think there was Domino’s pizza and beer. We were sitting in the receptionist’s area of the law office which was had once been a home so I recall that this was the former living room. Ed and I had never gone out, hadn’t really talked much or knew each other well so when the talk quickly came to how attracted he was to me and he started putting his hands on me and tried to kiss me I was completely uncomfortable. I was a virgin and had never had sex with a man and I told Eddie so. I think that, and the fact that I struggled and wouldn’t let him unbutton my pants kept it from going further. What did happen is that Ed wrestled me down to the carpet in front of the receptionist desk, opened his pants, lifted up my blouse and ejaculated on my stomach. I was disgusted and horrified. One of the unforgettable memories was of him handing me the box of Kleenex from the receptionist’s desk to clean myself up after after he was finished. I cleaned up and got out as quickly as I could, Eddie apologizing for getting so excited but couching it in terms suggesting I “was just too attractive to resist”.
It was confusing to know what to do. I really liked my job and was worried that telling someone would get me fired. I certainly wasn’t going to tell my parents , I couldn’t imagine going to the lawyers and I hadn’t been physically hurt so the police didn’t seem like an option either. But I knew what happened wasn’t okay. I knew that someone doesn’t have the right to force any kind of sexual act on another person. So the only act that I took was to tell a few close friends avoid Eddie as much as possible and to start referring to him as ‘Eddie the Toad’, which I have for the last 3 ½ decades.
I know Eddie recalls this too. He ended up marrying a classmate of mine and attended our high school reunions. Our 10th reunion was held at the Hereford Ranch and I consciously tried to avoid Eddie there. At one point he singled me out at the milk can dinner in the barn and told me he wanted to apologize for what had happened almost a decade before but, again, he couched it in terms that I was irresistible and he couldn’t control himself. At our 20th reunion at the Hynds Building he alluded to it again. I reached out to him in the following weeks to see if there was a way to clear the air on this episode but he never responded.
One of the hallmarks of so many of the harassment allegations against the men who harass is that it is rarely a single incident. I have certainly heard other rumors regarding Eddie. If there are other women who have stories, I hope this helps them feel less alone.
Enough is enough.
Maxwell repeated the accusations in a phone interview with The Casper Star-Tribune.
2. Ed Murray Has Strongly Denied the Claims
Ed Murray responded to news inquiries about Maxwell’s Facebook post by strongly denying the accusations. According to the Casper Star-Tribune, he issued a statement that said, “This baseless claim about an encounter from thirty-five years ago is unequivocally false. There is no basis to this falsehood whatsoever and it is deeply hurtful to me and to my family, as well as to everyone I serve.” He added that he was shocked and appalled by it, the newspaper reported.
KGWN-TV released Murray’s full statement. Here it is in its entirety:
I was shocked and appalled to read Ms. Maxwell’s statement. This baseless claim about an encounter from thirty-five years ago is unequivocally false. There is no basis to this falsehood whatsoever and it is deeply hurtful to me and to my family, as well as to everyone I serve.
I struggle to understand what would motivate someone to make this kind of accusation. But considering that this statement was made in the context of the #metoo movement, I want to take this moment to acknowledge the overall importance of this conversation, as well as to reaffirm my commitment to being an ally for women. As a husband of thirty-one years and the father of four incredible daughters, I take my role as an advocate for women with utmost importance. While I am deeply disturbed by this false allegation, I choose to allow this to serve as a reminder of how important it is to be an advocate for the courageous women and men who have spoken out against a very serious problem in our country. Sexual harassment is real and has no place in our society.
He is pictured above with his wife.
3. Maxwell Is a Democratic Donor & Real Estate Developer
The Star Tribune noted that Maxwell is a Democratic political donor. Ed Murray is a Republican. “Maxwell has donated about $73,000 to Democratic candidates and organizations in Wyoming, Colorado and nationally since 1998. It does not appear that Maxwell has donated to any Wyoming candidates or organizations since 2008,” the newspaper reported, but quoted her as saying, “It supersedes politics. It’s about human behavior. It’s about right and wrong, and it’s about standing up for women.”
On Facebook, Tatiana Maxwell has advocated for the Dream Act, “climate action,” and posed for a photo with Hillary Clinton. She also posed in front of a Barack Obama campaign slogan in another photo. Many of her photos show her family, such as a child’s graduation. On Facebook, she wrote that she is self-employed, from Cheyenne, Wyoming, and lives in Boulder, Colorado. Wyoming Public Media says that Maxwell works as a real estate developer.
4. Murray Is an Entrepreneur Whose Family Has Been in Wyoming for Four Generations
As Secretary of State, Ed Murray holds many important responsibilities in Wyoming. “Secretary Murray serves as the State’s Chief Elections Officer, Securities Commissioner, Corporations Administrator, Notaries Public Commissioner and in the capacity of Lieutenant Governor,” the Secretary of State’s website says. “Additionally, Secretary Murray chairs the State Canvassing Board and serves with the other State-wide elected officials on the State Loan and Investment Board, the Board of Land Commissioners and the State Building Commission.”
His official biography says that he was elected as Wyoming’s 21st Secretary of State on Nov. 4, 2014. “Pursuant to Wyoming’s Constitution, Secretary Murray also serves as acting Governor when the Governor is absent from the State or if the Governor were to become incapable of serving,” the site notes.
Murray’s family has long roots in Wyoming. The bio describes him as a “fourth-generation Wyoming native born and raised in Laramie County. He graduated from Central High School in 1976 and went on to receive an undergraduate degree in business administration with dual majors in finance and real estate. Following his college graduation, Ed earned his J.D. at the University of Wyoming College of Law before returning to Cheyenne to pursue being an entrepreneur and businessman.”
Prior to his public service, reports the bio, Murray “spent over thirty years in the private sector owning and operating several businesses related primarily to real estate investment and development. Ed’s companies have provided for the development and creation of numerous neighborhoods with hundreds of housing opportunities as well as schools, parks, businesses, churches, bike paths, commercial properties and the extension of new and improved infrastructure for Wyoming residents.”
5. Murray Is Married With Four Daughters & Was Considering a Run for Governor
According to his biography, Murray is involved in volunteerism and has been married for more than 30 years.
The same day that Maxwell posted her accusations on Facebook, The Casper Star Tribune reported that Murray was planning to announce whether he will run for governor in January. “The Democratic field has consolidated around former state lawmaker Mary Throne, also a Cheyenne attorney, but the GOP’s pick for governor remains anyone’s guess,” the newspaper reported, adding, “State Treasurer Mark Gordon initially said he would announce a decision on whether to run by the end of the legislative session in March, but now says he may do so sooner. Secretary of State Ed Murray said he hopes to make an announcement by January. Gov. Matt Mead, a Republican, is termed out. Sheridan businessman and political novice Bill Dahlin is the only Republican candidate to have officially entered the race so far.”
“Secretary Murray has served on the board of directors for numerous organizations and he and his wife, Caren Murray, are strong advocates of community service, supporting many charitable causes and funding many educational endeavors,” the website says. “Ed and Caren have been married for over thirty years and are the parents of four adult daughters – Meghan, Erin, Kelley, and Frannie.” He called his wife, Caren, his soulmate on Facebook.
According to his campaign website, “The Murray family has been a lifelong member of St. Mary’s Parish. Ed calls it a privilege to have raised four daughters in the Equality State. He believes that Wyoming and its unparalleled uniqueness, traditions, and freedom played an indispensable role in allowing his daughters to grow into the individuals they are today.”