Dracut Man Facing Child-porn Charge

April 4, 2018

DRACUT -- A 58-year-old Dracut man is free on $1,000 cash bail -- and prohibited from having unsupervised contact with children under 18 -- as he faces charges he had child pornography on a tablet computer.

Michael Murphy, 58, of 41 Adams Road, was arrested Monday morning. Dracut police served a search warrant at his home and found several images of child pornography during a search of Murphy’s Kindle Fire, according to police reports.

Police reports state the investigation started on March 21 when Dracut police received a tip from the state police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force about an image of child pornography that was shared via a Skype account.

The Attorney General’s office used a subpoena sent to Comcast to identify Murphy as potentially being involved, according to a police report.

Dracut police obtained a search warrant and served it at Murphy’s home Monday about 6:30 a.m., with assistance from the Middlesex Sheriff’s Department Digital Forensics Unit and an information technology specialist and forensic examiner from the FBI.

Murphy is the husband of Dracut School Committee member Betsy Murphy.

Police seized six computers, two tablets, and Murphy’s iPhone during the search, according to a police report. Those devices will now be subjected to thorough forensic searches.

But an on-scene preview conducted on the Kindle Fire that Murphy told police was his revealed several images of child pornography, including one that shows an adult male sexually abusing an infant, and another that shows a child age 4 to 7 posed in a sexual position, according to a police report.

Police also found a selfie of Murphy on the device, according to a police report.

Murphy told police his wife and children do not know the passwords to his devices, although he said his wife may know the password to his phone, according to a police report, which says Murphy told police the passwords for all his devices.

“Michael Sr. further stated, ‘nobody uses my stuff,’ ” according to a police report.

Detective Megan Pike wrote in her police report that Murphy initially said he may have once seen a questionable image on his Kindle, then denied it during a later conversation and said the Kindle wasn’t connected to the internet. He later said he had once seen “something involving a kid” that was about 15-years-old on his Kindle, according to the police report.

“As Michael Sr. was speaking and answering questions, he was inconsistent and vague,” Pike wrote in her report.

Murphy was arrested at the scene on a single count of possession of child pornography and taken to Lowell District Court. Murphy posted $1,000 cash bail, according to court records.

Judge Stacey Fortes ordered that Murphy wear a GPS tracking device, have no unsupervised contact with anyone under 18, not possess any computers or computing devices, and not work or volunteer at any position with children under 18, according to court records.

Police reports and court records connected to the case note that Murphy is a suicide risk, and told police he would use “any means possible” to kill himself if given the opportunity.

No one answered the door at Murphy’s home Tuesday afternoon. Murphy’s attorney, Kevin Tighe, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Murphy is due back in Lowell District Court on May 25 for a pretrial hearing.

Robert Guastucci, of Tyngsboro, who is the husband of Tyngsboro School Committee Member Julie Guastucci, is also facing possession of child pornography charges.

Guastucci was arrested in October, and was recently indicted in Middlesex Superior Court on two counts of possession of child pornography. Neither man’s wife has been implicated in any way in their husband’s alleged activities.

Staff writer Amaris Castillo contributed to this report.

Follow Robert Mills on Twitter @Robert_Mills