‘There is no statute of limitations for trauma and pain’

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IN 2016, Michael Barry Murphy was accused of sexually abusing a then 4-year-old girl and two other women when they were still minors. One of the women was the mother of the girl.

Murphy, 57, an Army veteran, was originally charged with sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree, and sexual abuse of a minor.

Murphy was recently sentenced by the Superior Court to 30 days imprisonment with credit of 30 days for time he had already served after signing a plea deal with the Attorney General’s Office. He pled guilty to child abuse.

His accuser, the mother of the then 4-year-old child, told Variety in an email: “In an instant our worst nightmare has come true. [Murphy] has yet again succeeded. He has manipulated the courts, the Commonwealth, the victim’s families and us the survivors. Where is the justice in this?”

She accused the AG’s office of selective prosecution. “The AG’s office has established a history, a pattern of neglect that has not brought justice for sexual assault victims. I understand the statute of limitations has expired for me, but not for these girls. There is no statute of limitations for the flashbacks, trauma, and pain,” she added.

She said Murphy is her “step-grandpa.”

In a previous statement, chief prosecutor John Bradley noted the complexity of the case, but added that through the plea deal, “we avoided possible loss of evidence and a potentially unsuccessful trial.”

He added, “This was a very difficult decision, but it was carefully done to protect vulnerable children and bring some justice to this complicated case.”

Bradley said, “The court was very concerned about the issues raised in pretrial motions challenging the manner in which the child victim’s testimony was taken.”

Given the legal issues raised, he added, “we thought it was important to make sure Murphy was held accountable through a plea agreement rather than a trial.”

On Dec. 13, 2019, Associate Judge Wesley Bogdan ordered Murphy to pay a $1,000 fine and to leave the CNMI within 30 days.

Murphy was also instructed not to return to the CNMI until two years has passed from his departure. In addition, he was prohibited from having contact with the victim or her mother.

Murphy has gotten away with what he has done, the victim’s mother said.

This is why a lot of victims are afraid to come forward,” she added. “The CNMI judicial system needs to do better for sexual assault victims and other victims of such heinous acts.”

Her husband told Variety that “DNA evidence has been turned in, connecting [Murphy] with the crime. With the assistance from the AG’s office and its counterparts, one would assume that this case would be pretty cut and clear; however this was not the reality. The lack of communication between the AG’s office and the victims’ families has hindered proper conviction.”

The Office of the AG’s funding issues, he said, has led to the dismissal of crucial DNA evidence connecting the perpetrator to the crime.

He added that the AG’s office has allowed Murphy to “roam free with only a slap on the wrist.”

On Aug 15, 2017, the Superior Court dismissed the case without prejudice against Murphy and expressed discontent with the manner in which a former assistant attorney general had handled the case.

Murphy was then represented by attorney Janet King.

On Dec. 5, 2017 the Office of the Attorney General re-filed the case against Murphy who was represented by the Public Defender’s Office.

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