Facebook Twitter

NEIGHBOR SAYS SHE LIED FOR SANDY COUPLE

SHARE NEIGHBOR SAYS SHE LIED FOR SANDY COUPLE

A Sandy couple apparently knew their third child's trip to the emergency room for bruises sustained in a "fall" would arouse doctors' and police officers' suspicions.

Lincoln "Murph" Murphy, 27, and Jennifer Murphy, 21, allegedly persuaded a friend to lie to police in order to avoid a link between possible abuse of their 17-day-old infant and suspicious injuries their two older children had previously suffered.Barbara Mortensen, Jennifer's childhood friend, allowed the couple to live in her apartment for more than five months and helped transport Jennifer to post-delivery doctor appointments. Mortensen testified during Thursday's preliminary hearing that after Jennifer returned home from one appointment, Murphy, left alone to baby-sit, said he had tripped over a cat and dropped the infant.

After noticing bruising on the baby's buttocks, they rushed the baby to the hospital. But doctors questioned whether such a fall could have caused the injuries and notified police about possible sexual abuse.

Murphy and his wife persuaded Mortensen to tell police she was with the family when the baby was dropped. "Jennifer said, `Nobody's been there with Murph with the other two (children), and it's going to look bad if we say he was alone this time,' " she said.

But Mortensen said she admitted to her lie after she saw the anal bruises on the Murphys' infant, and she provided a revised written and oral statement to Sandy officers.

Murphy is charged with two counts of aggravated sexual abuse or alternative counts of sodomy and object rape, all first-degree felonies; sex abuse of a child, a second-degree felony; and tampering with a witness, a third-degree felony.

Third Circuit Judge Eleanor VanSciver ordered Murphy to stand trial on all the charges in District Court. He will appear before Judge Dennis Frederick July 10.

Jennifer Murphy, 21, pleaded guilty in March to child abuse, a Class A misdemeanor, in exchange for prosecutors' dismissal of two other child-abuse charges, a similar charge of tampering with a witness and agreed to testify in her husband's trial. She is currently serving a jail sentence.

Prosecutors accuse Murphy of first sodomizing his 5-month-old child, now 3 and living with an adoptive family in Wyoming, in 1989. The couple's second child was also taken from the family's home when doctors noted similar rectal injuries three months after the infant's birth in 1990. Investigators say the third child was sexually abused in 1991.

Jennifer Murphy testified that the "redness and chafing" and rectal injuries she noticed in all her children were consistent with her infants' constipation and not sufficient reason to take the children into protective custody.

But four doctors testified during two days of testimony that the rectal cuts, bruising, genital chafing and fractured bones the three children sustained were more likely evidence of sexual abuse than falls, clumsy enemas, insertion of rectal thermometers or extreme constipation.

Helen Britton, a pediatrician with Primary Children's Medical Center and child protection team member, said it's very unlikely that three children from the same family would have the same accidental injuries.