Real Stories Project

05/15/10: Man, 45, rapes girl, 13


Independence Man Indicted On Charges Of Having Sex With Underage Girl.

6:42 pm CDT April 14, 2010

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- An Independence man is facing more than a dozen charges of rape and sodomy against an underage girl.

Shawn Patrick Murphy is 45, but grand jury indictments said he lied about his age to a 13-year-old girl and had sex with her.

Court documents said Murphy first met his victim on a Web site called Tagged where he told her he was 13. They later began chatting online and those chats turned into visits where the girl began sneaking out of her house to meet him, documents indicated.

The girl said in court records that Murphy told her he was in his 20s. Their first meeting was during winter break last January when the middle schooler snuck out of her house to meet Murphy.

She told Independence police that there were several sexual encounters after that in Murphy's home and in his van. Neighbors said Murphy lives in a house on East 14th Street with roommates.

"There are little girls up and down the street all the time," said neighbor Chris Schumacher. "I have a little sister. He just looked pretty innocent. He didn't seem like a bad guy at all."

Neighbors said weeks ago that agents removed items from the house, including a computer and carpet from his van.

Before the arrest, the principal at George Caleb Bingham Middle School also alerted police about Murphy after finding out the teen was texting and communicating online with an adult man.

The principal discovered he was an adult from his Facebook page and noticed his disc jockey Web site. The mother of one of the victim's friends also found out that the 14-year-old's "boyfriend" was in his 20s and reported it to police as a possible sex offense.

The grand jury has indicted Murphy on 13 counts including rape in the first degree, rape in the second degree, statutory sodomy in the first and second degree and child molestation.

Neighbors said it is hard to comprehend.

"We're all blown away," neighbor Vanessa Stephens said. "There were 13. Thirteen. I expected it to be maybe one, but 13 is outrageous."

The girl told police Murphy he wanted to marry her and start a family with her when she turned 17.

Murphy is currently in jail with a cash bond set at $250,000.