Raped Girl Sues Town That Hired Cop
BOLIVIA, N.C. (CN) - A small-town North Carolina cop raped a 13-year-old girl while on duty, and the town hired him without any psychological screening after he had raped an 11-year-old, the teenager claims in court.
Guardian ad litem James W. McGee Jr. sued the Town of Navassa, its Mayor Eulis A. Willis, the Navassa Police Department and former Police Chief Copelen L. Taylor, in state court.
Former Officer Jaymin Lenwood Murphy was sentenced in December 2010 to 41 years in prison for sexual offenses against the two girls mentioned in this complaint, according to the Wilmington Star News. In a plea deal, the sentencing judge dismissed three counts of rape and two counts of indecent liberties with a minor, the Star News reported.
The new complaint, originally filed in New Hanover County but transferred to Brunswick County, claims: "That due to the failure of the Town of Navassa to adequately supervise Officer Jaymin Lenwood Murphy and his 'investigation' activities, he was able to have repeated, unfettered contact with the minor child and her family - a perfect environment for Officer Murphy to intimidate the grandmother and mother of the minor child and sexually abuse the minor child.
"That based upon information and belief, Officer Murphy's personal relationship with the Chief of Police contributed to his hiring without adequate screening and allowed Officer Murphy to fail to account for his whereabouts and use of equipment, except in a most haphazard manner."
The complaint claims the plaintiff G.H. is not the first girl Murphy raped - though Murphy is not named as a defendant.
"In or around 2005, Jaymin Lenwood Murphy began engaging in sexual intercourse with his then-live-in-girlfriend's 11-year-old daughter," the complaint states. "Murphy, then employed as a cab driver, had sex with the pre-teen girl multiple times before moving out of his girlfriend's home in 2007.
"Somehow, in or about August of 2008, Jaymin Lenwood Murphy secured a job as a police officer with the Navassa Police Department.
"Within 16 months, Officer Murphy was raping another child, this time while on-duty, in the course and scope of his duties as a Navassa Police Officer.
"In December of 2009, Officer Murphy was assigned by the Navassa Police Department to investigate accusations that the boyfriend of the [plaintiff] minor child's aunt had sent inappropriate pictures to the minor child. Officer Murphy visited the minor child, then 13 years old, at her grandmother's home in Navassa, in his squad car, in uniform, and demanded the family allow him to question the minor child in private, in a bedroom. Behind the bedroom's closed door, Officer Murphy told the minor child that 'investigators required photos of her to compare the images sent to her cell phone.' Officer Murphy then instructed the minor child to remove her clothing so he could take pictures of her genitals and breasts, and then, when the minor child complied under coercion, he did so."
Murphy visited the girl again on her 14th birthday and "represented that he was working in a joint investigation with the FBI involving the text messaging offense and that the mother, grandmother and minor child would be arrested if they disclosed his visits to anyone," the complaint states.
It continues: "This time, behind closed doors, Officer Murphy told the minor child that he needed to conduct a 'pressure test' to determine if she had been sexually active. When the minor child informed Officer Murphy that she had not been sexually active, he forced her to submit herself to him. On his town-issued cell phone, now in the possession of the Brunswick County Sheriff's Department, Officer Murphy recorded himself having nonconsensual sexual intercourse with the confused, betrayed and horrified minor child."
The girl says that Murphy "threatened her mother and herself with jail" so she "was too terrified and traumatized by her rape to report it to anyone."
She felt safe enough to do so only after she "saw the news report of the arrest of Officer Murphy for another sexual assault of an earlier victim(s) (his aforementioned ex-girlfriend's daughter)," according to the complaint. (Parentheses in complaint.)
The girl and her guardian claim the defendants "hired Jaymin Lenwood Murphy as a police officer in August of 2009, without a competent psychological screening examination and without any other sort of reasonable, psychological fitness assessment/pre-screening, and without otherwise subjecting Jaymin Lenwood Murphy to the minimum prophylactive screening/vetting and certification processes required by applicable North Carolina general statutes and other applicable standards of care."
They add that "if the defendants had had the resources and/or the inclination to make reasonable efforts to assess the emotional/psychological fitness of their police officer candidates as required by minimal statutory and other applicable standards of care, Jaymin Lenwood Murphy would never have been a Navassa Police Officer. And, if Jaymin Lenwood Murphy were not a Navassa Police Officer, the minor child would not have been raped."
The girl seeks compensatory and punitive damages for negligent hiring, supervision and retention.
The girl is represented by Michael Davenport of Wilmington, N.C.