A former Cheyenne woman claims that Secretary of State Ed Murray sexually assaulted her in 1982 when they worked together at the law firm of Dray, Madison and Thomson in Cheyenne.
Tatiana Maxwell was 18 years old at the time, and had just graduated from high school, while Murray had recently graduated from the University of Wyoming College of Law. In a post published on Maxwell’s Facebook page on Monday, she said the assault took place one evening when Murray asked her to spend time with him at the firm after it was closed for the day.
Murray was elected to the post of Secretary of State in 2014 and has been expected to make a run for Governor. Maxwell is a real estate developer now living in Boulder with her family.
Maxwell said she decided to go public now because the environment feels much safer for women to come forward than it did before.
“It really is the #metoo movement,” said Maxwell. “And the fact that this is a national and societal conversation and that emboldened me to tell my story.”
Maxwell said she didn’t tell her bosses at the time because she didn’t want to lose her job, and she wasn’t sure what options she had.
“I was 18-years-old, and didn’t have much experience in the world,” said Maxwell. “I knew it was wrong, but I wasn’t clear on what my options might be. That job was important to me. And I felt honored that that group of respected lawyers had hired me. It was not a conversation I felt like I could have with my parents. I couldn’t quit my job without explaining to them why this thing I wanted so much I wasn’t going to do anymore, and I think I also felt very strongly that I was not going to let that incident, that man, and that experience keep me from doing the thing that I wanted to do.”
Since coming forward, Maxwell said the response has been supportive and many women have reached out to her to share their own experiences with sexual assault and harassment.
In a statement, Murray denied the claims, writing, “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.”
Murray also addressed the #metoo movement in his statement.
“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,” wrote Murray.
Murray’s wife and Maxwell attended high school together in Cheyenne, and Maxwell said Murray approached her at both her 10-year and 20-year reunions and told her he wanted to apologize. Maxwell said he then told her that she was too attractive for him to resist.
Secretary Murray declined Wyoming Public Radio’s request for an interview.