Science teacher fired over sexual materials

Charles Murphy -
Charles Murphy
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Charles ‘Pat’ Murphy already faces charges of possessing child pornography.

A Bainbridge High School science teacher was fired this week because of sexually graphic materials found in his classroom, school officials said.

The materials – including videos with images of prepubescent, adolescent and adult males displaying full-frontal nudity – were discovered in mid-January in a storage closet in the classroom of Charles “Pat” Murphy, Bainbridge Island Superintendent of Schools Ken Crawford said Friday.

The materials, some of which were commercially available from domestic and foreign distributors, and others that appeared to be of amateur production, turned up during an investigation by police and school officials arising from the alleged discovery of child pornography on Murphy’s home computer.

Police subsequently seized Murphy’s classroom computer, on which images of males of various ages “posed provocatively in underwear” and nude were discovered, school officials said.

None of the videos seized involved Bainbridge Island youths, school officials said, and there was no indication that the images had been shown to Murphy’s students.

“There’s nothing to suggest that any of our students were involved in anything inappropriate,” Crawford said.

Murphy, 46, in his third year at teaching BHS, has been on administrative leave since his Jan. 18 arrest for alleged possession of child pornography in his home. The materials were seized when police executed a drug-related search warrant at his High School Road home several days earlier.

Murphy has entered a plea of not guilty in Kitsap County Superior Court, with trial set for March 13. Pre-trial motions are to be heard Feb. 16.

Murphy was formally notified of his discharge from the school district Wednesday. He failed to respond to several attempts by school officials to meet with him to discuss his conduct, Crawford said.

While the criminal proceedings against Murphy have yet to run their full course, the presence of the sexual materials in his classroom was sufficient grounds for dismissal, Crawford said.

“We have an altogether higher and different standard than does the criminal justice system,” he said. “Rather than just see what happens there, we have a responsibility to act based on what we know.”

He added, “This is not a decision we take lightly, or like being put in the position to have to make.”

Murphy’s attorney, Jeffrey Smith of Seattle, did not immediately return calls for comment Friday.

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