IRVINE, Ky. (FOX 56) – The attorney for a former Estill County teacher accused of not reporting sexual messages between a student and a man she is dating says a guilty plea was entered Friday to some of the charges, while others were dismissed.
Michael F. Eubanks represents Sherry Murphy, who was indicted on charges of unlawful transaction with a minor, tampering with physical evidence and failure to report child abuse.
A Kentucky State Police investigation revealed that Torstein Torsteinson, a Honduran immigrant in the US on a work visa, contacted a student on Facebook in an attempt to have sex in 2018. His attempts were unsuccessful, so he got in a relationship with then teacher Sherry Murphy. Troopers say Murphy was aware of the messages, but she did not report it to authorities.
In a statement to FOX 56, Eubanks detailed what happened in court Friday. Previously, the Commonwealth had returned a 13 count superseding indictment.
- Count 1, complicity to commit unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual activities, was dismissed.
- Counts 2 and 3, tampering with physical evidence, GUILTY.
- Count 4, failure to report child abuse, dismissed.
- Counts 5, 10, 11, 12, and 13, alleging unlawful transaction with a minor, illegal sex acts, under 18, amended to wanton endangerment, 1st, one year on each count.
- Counts 6, 7, 8, and 9, alleging solicitation to commit unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual activities, were all dismissed.
The total plea is 10 years, diverted for 5 years. The diversion is to be supervised and a condition of the diversion was that Ms. Murphy surrender her Kentucky Teaching Certificate. Eubanks added “Ms. Murphy did not enter a plea to any charge alleging some form of complicity, solicitation or unlawful transaction with minor to commit a sex act.”
Murphy is set to be sentenced on January 4.
Torstienson was charged with unlawful transaction with a minor and tampering with physical evidence.