The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

May 1, 2012

Suspended bus driver faces new charge

JEFFERSON —  A new sex charge has been added to those already facing a Geneva man who is on leave from his job as a bus driver for Ashtabula Area City Schools.

Virgil Murphy Jr., 57, of 518 N. Broadway, Geneva, was indicted late last week on one count of rape involving a victim under the age of 13 sometime between Jan. 1, 2009 and Feb. 28, 2010, court records show.

The Prosecutor’s Office filed a continuance relating to a trial scheduled to start Wednesday. Murphy was formerly charged with two counts of rape; 10 counts of gross sexual imposition and three counts of sexual imposition, according to Ashtabula County prosecutors.

The case will not go to trial this week. “We will just do a motion to consolidate (the former cases with the new indictment),” said Assistant Prosecutor Susan Thomas.

Police said Murphy met two of the victims on his bus and later realized they were distant relatives. Police said Murphy then had sexual contact with the two girls and their sister at his home.

All three girls were 13 and younger, Thomas said. A plea bargain negotiation, that would have kept the victims from testifying, broke down in mid-April.

Murphy is suspended from his job without pay pending the outcome of the criminal charges, Donatone told the Star Beacon.

Public Defender Dean F. Topalof is representing Murphy, who is free on a $50,000 personal recognizance bond, with conditions to stay away from the victims. Prosecutors said Murphy has significant health issues.

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