Hearing waived in Catholic high school sex procurement case

Archbishop Carroll High School's former athletic director this morning waived a preliminary hearing on charges of seeking sex from an ex-student.

Francis Murphy, 39 of the 1000 block of Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr, said nothing during the brief session before Magisterial District Court Judge James P. Gallagher in Bridgeport.

He was represented by well-known attorneys Timothy Woodward and William J. Winning.

Although the judge issued no ruling, the waiver has the effect of moving the case forward to Common Pleas Court for a June 29 arraignment.

According to court documents, Murphy was arrested April 15 on charges he reached out via Facebook to a former male student at Archbishop Carroll. The conversation initially concerned cleaning out the boy's locker, but quickly turned sexual, according to court papers.

Murphy offered in Facebook messages to buy the boy sports equipment, spikes and a visor, in exchange for specific sexual favors, an affidavit alleged.

The boy, who was not identified in court papers, told his mother, and she alerted police, Detectives assumed the boy's online identity and arrested Murphy when he went to what he thought was a sexual liaison at Frosty Falls Ice Cream Shop in Bridgeport on April 15.

Murphy resigned recently as athletic director of the Catholic school in Radnor Township after a long, successful career. He had served as a coach starting in 1993 and then as athletic director since 1999.

He appeared for court dressed in a charcoal gray business suit, white shirt and quiet tie, and avoided reporters by coming in through a back door.

Murphy appeared thinner than his police mug shot and has grown facial hair since his arrest in April. He is free after posting $250,000 bail.

One key element of the hearing was a negotiation about dropping three of the original nine charges, law enforcement officials said.

The basic offenses Murphy faces are unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of a minor and promoting prostitution. They are felonies of the third degree. The maximum penalty for each count is seven years behind bars.

Assistant District Attorney Samantha Cauffman agreed to drop three charges involving criminal solicitation of a minor.

Three other charges involving criminally attempting to have unlawful contact with a minor still stand, for a total of six remaining charges against Murphy, law enforcement officials said.

 


Contact staff writer Bonnie L. Cook at 610-313-8232 or bcook@phillynews.com