Clark County Prosecutor Steve Stewart has not discussed the investigation publicly and did not return a reporter’s phone calls to his office on Wednesday.
Larry Wilder, Murphy’s attorney, has said that Murphy maintains the sex act was consensual. As of Wednesday afternoon, Murphy had not been arrested for or charged with any crime. Wilder said conversations with Stewart have led him to believe that Stewart will decide whether or not to charge Murphy within 30 to 40 days.
Murphy was accused of a nearly identical illegal act in 1998, according to a police report filed in Clarksville. He was never charged with a crime following that allegation, which was made by a man who was 21 at the time.
Wilder said he represented Murphy following the 1998 accusation and that Murphy cooperated with investigators then. The attorney said Clarksville police investigated the complaint and that the matter was never forwarded to the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office, because of a lack of evidence.
“It was determined that charges were not warranted,” Wilder said.
I think it's a given that the 1998 charges never became public, which might explain why charges were never brought. I know that some people have been highly critical of Taking Down Words' Jen Wagner for publishing the police report which was leaked to her, but I know these kinds of cases have a tendency to get swept under the rug when people aren't watching, particularly in small towns where a prominent person is the focus of the investigation. I think she did the victim a huge favor by focusing public attention on the case. People generally sympathize with female victims of sexual assault, but in cases involving a male victim, there is a tendency not to believe him, or the victim becomes as much the butt of public ridicule as the offender. You can see that in a lot of comments posted on the various blogs which have reported on this case both nationally and locally. Law enforcement officers often seem to be less sympathetic when the incident involves two men. I hope the prosecutor makes the right decision in this case based on the evidence he has been presented by the sheriff's office. Unless the victim suddenly recants his account of the events, the evidence presented in the police report appears to meet the probable cause standard.