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Island teacher jailed on child porn charges

Charles Murphy -
Charles Murphy
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Charles ‘Pat’ Murphy, 46, is in his third year teaching at Bainbridge High.

A Bainbridge High School science teacher remained jailed Friday, after being arrested this week for allegedly possessing child pornography on his home computer.

A subsequent search of Charles Patrick “Pat” Murphy’s high school classroom turned up more “inappropriate” materials of an unspecified nature, Bainbridge Police Detective Scott Anderson said Friday.

“We did find inappropriate items in the classroom, but nothing that would tie directly to any students here,” Anderson said.

Murphy, 46, was arrested Wednesday after detectives allegedly found more than 270 sexually suggestive images of children on his home computer.

Some of the images were sufficiently explicit to be considered child pornography under Washington state law, Anderson said.

The computer had been seized five days earlier, when police excecuted a drug-related search warrant at Murphy’s home in the 8100 block of High School Road.

A small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia also were seized at that time, police and prosecutors said, and Muphy’s 17-year-old son was arrested and jailed on misdemeanor drug possession charges.

The elder Murphy pleaded not guilty in Kitsap County Superior Court Thursday to three charges of possession of child pornography and was jailed on $40,000 bail, Prosecutor Bob Naon said.

Murphy was placed on indefinite administrative leave by the Bainbridge Island School District and barred from returning to the high school campus.

Murphy is in his third year teaching physics and physical science at the high school, said Ken Crawford, superintendent of Bainbridge schools.

He came to the Bainbridge district from Illinois and had no problems in his background or since he was hired, Crawford said.

While the charges against Murphy stemmed from images found on his home computer, the district is looking into Murphy’s conduct on the campus as well. His office computer has been seized by police and is being examined.

“We do conduct our own investigation to determine if there are any issues at school, and that’s a parallel process,” Crawford said. “Barring anything at school, we pretty much have to allow the criminal justice system to work its course.”

In biographical information posted on a school district website, Murphy said he graduated from high school in East Peoria, Ill., in 1977 and holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Augustana College, and master’s degrees in biology from Illinois State University and in physical science teaching from Eastern Illinois University. He has previously taught at three other high schools, a community college and a correctional center, according to the site.

Among his hobbies, Murphy said he enjoys “annoying teenagers.”

Murphy’s next court appearance is set for Feb. 16, with a trial date of March 13, the prosecutor’s office said.

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