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No witnesses, no evidence

Sen. Rick Murphy (file photo)

Senator blasts CPS after police decide not to pursue charges against him, CPS still investigating

After Peoria police found no evidence to support allegations that he sexually abused two boys in his care, Arizona Sen. Rick Murphy must now fight to keep custody of his adoptive daughters.  They were removed by the state as officials continue to investigate accusations against the lawmaker.

Police have ceased investigating two separate allegations that the Peoria Republican molested an adopted son and foster child staying in his home, according to a police report released by Peoria city officials July 24. But officials with Child Protective Services are still looking into the matter.  Three and a half weeks after the most recent accusations against Murphy were made, officials took away Murphy¹s four adopted daughters on July 17.

Murphy lashed out at the agency, which he said failed to follow state laws dictating how children can be removed from their families and may be retaliating for his work in the Legislature, where the senator considers himself a champion of foster and adoptive care and a frequent critic of CPS.

The case against Murphy had been based largely on the statements of Enrique Thomas Murphy, adopted by the lawmaker and his wife when Enrique was 10 years old.  Enrique told police on June 22 that he had been molested by Murphy for the past six years, beginning when he was a 12 years old, the report stated.

Enrique, now 18, also told police he began sexually abusing one of his sisters during that time.  The report stated Enrique began inappropriately touching and being touched by one of Murphy¹s daughters when she was 12 years old.

Enrique¹s accusations prompted police to reopen a 2011 case in which one of Murphy¹s foster children accused the senator of sexual abuse.

But police found no witnesses or evidence to support either boy¹s accusations.

Enrique left a voicemail for investigators on July 12 retracting his statements and refused to speak any further about either incident with the police, the report said.

The report indicated police had difficulty speaking with potential witnesses in the case.  After Murphy¹s daughters were interviewed by CPS workers when removed from the senator¹s home on June 22, the girls declined to speak further through their mother, Penny, with CPS workers or the police.

Murphy also declined to speak with police through his attorney, Craig Mehrens.

³On my advice he will respectfully decline an interview at this time.

In event all he could tell you is that he has never abused anyone, let alone a child in his care,² Mehrens told police.

The case is now listed as inactive.

³Until further information can be developed to prove or disprove the allegations, this investigation will be listed be inactive,² the report stated.

CPS officials are working to locate and speak with all of Murphy¹s former male foster children, the report said.

Murphy¹s two foster children were removed from the home and not returned, according the report.

Murphy lashes out

Murphy issued a lengthy written statement through his attorney July 24, denouncing CPS¹ actions since removing his daughters and beginning a dependency proceeding, used to determine if the girls should be permanently removed from the Murphys¹ care.

The girls were initially returned to his home for three and a half weeks after police began their investigation on June 22.

CPS case workers advised police they went to Murphy¹s home on June 27 to implement a safety plan for the senator¹s daughters.  A safety monitor was to remain with the daughters at all times, and the daughters weren¹t to have any unsupervised contact with male family members, the report stated.

CPS took away Murphy¹s girls again on July 17.

Murphy wrote that CPS failed to give sufficient explanation for why they decided to remove the girls beyond citing an ³ongoing investigation² and have since failed to release any information on when their dependency hearing is to be held.

A dependency hearing was scheduled for this week, according to the police report.

CPS also failed to attempt to place his daughters with another family, and instead immediately sought to place them in a group home, Murphy wrote.

The senator claimed CPS took his daughters ³to retaliate for the fact that the girls refused to be interviewed, as is their right.² ³CPS may be trying to coerce them into saying what CPS wants them to say. It is also possible that they simply are retaliating as much as they believe circumstances allow for Sen. Murphy¹s past criticism of CPS and its lack of public accountability,² Murphy wrote, referring to himself in the third person.

As for his accusers, Murphy wrote that Enrique has reached out to his family since retracting his statements to police in an attempt at reconciliation.

And the senator dismissed accusations by a foster child from 2011 as ³full of contradictions.² ³It was painfully obvious that a very troubled young man tried to manipulate people to do what he wanted without regard for the damage it could cause others,² Murphy wrote.

A spokeswoman for CPS said officials were reviewing Murphy¹s statement.

Similar accusations

The report noted that the accusations made by Enrique and the foster child in 2011 were similar: Both boys told police that Murphy inappropriately touched them, and in some instances rewarded the boys for allowing the abuse to occur, according to the report.

Both boys also told police they weren¹t aware of any other children in the home being abused, the report stated.

Enrique and the foster child from 2011, who was permanently removed from Murphy¹s home at the time, were once roommates in the home with another foster child who ran away from Murphy¹s home in May, according the report.

CPS officials were unable to locate the child to be interviewed by police, and the report offered no explanation of why the boy, now an adult, ran away.

Police interviewed the foster child who accused Murphy of sexual abuse in 2011 on July 10. The boy reiterated his claims that Murphy inappropriately touched him while he stayed in the senator¹s home in 2011, but said he never heard about or witnessed any other instances of abuse.

When asked if he thought the Murphys would influence what the children told police, the boy explained, ³The Murphys told all the other children in the home that [redacted] was making false allegations against them,² the report stated.

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