Archbishop Carroll coach charged with soliciting teen

Pictured: Francis Murphy

April 18, 2011 3:12:40 PM PDT
The athletic director, who is also a coach, at Archbishop Carroll High School is under arrest, accused of soliciting a teen boy online.

Francis Murphy, 39, of Bryn Mawr, has been charged by the Montgomery County D.A.'s office with Unlawful Contact or Communication with a Minor, Promoting Prostitution, Corruption of Minors, Attempted Corruption of Minors, and related offenses.

According to District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, a male juvenile - an 11th grader - made a complaint earlier this month that Murphy was sending him sexually suggestive messages on Facebook. The teen said Murphy recruited him at a football camp when he was in 9th grade to attend Archbishop Carroll in Radnor, Pa.

The victim's family, however, could not afford the tuition and he ended up leaving the school to attend Upper Merion High. That's when the alleged sexual conversations began.

The D.A. said that the juvenile recently sent Murphy a message on Facebook asking him if he could help him with getting his cleats out of his locker. Murphy said he would and then, authorities say, Murphy quickly turned the subject into a sexual talk.

The conversations allegedly included Murphy offering to provide gifts to the juvenile in exchange for sexual favors. Murphy told the juvenile many times that this would have to be kept between the two of them, the D.A. said.

"The coach suggested he could be this boy's 'sugar daddy,'" Ferman said.

The juvenile eventually told his mother, and she contacted the police.

Authorities then set up a sting on Facebook and arranged a meeting on Friday morning at an ice cream shop in Bridgeport, Montgomery County, where Murphy was arrested.

His bail has been set at $250,000 cash.

A news release from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia says Murphy has been athletic director at Archbishop Carroll since 1999 and also has served as the boys' baseball coach and offensive coordinator of the football team.

He previously served as the boys' baseball coach and assistant football coach at Kennedy-Kenrick High School from 1996 to 1998.

The archdiocese said that all of the required criminal background checks and child abuse clearances were in place.

"Total shock. No indication of anything like this occurring. Just a total surprise," said Father Edward Casey, president of Archbishop Carroll.

School administrators sent a letter via e-mail to school families today informing them of the arrest. "The letter conveyed to parents how troubling this news is for the members of our school community," Mary E. Rochford, Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in the statement.

Murphy is now on administrative leave, which means he is relieved of all duties related to his employment within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.