NEW PHILADELPHIA ― Two men have pleaded not guilty to Tuscarawas County Grand Jury indictments charging them with sex offenses against children.
Ryan L. Murphy, 24, of Dennison, is charged with attempted rape and gross sexual imposition against an 8-year-old victim.
Enrique Durham, 30, of Magnolia, is charged with two counts of rape, two counts of gross sexual imposition and a single count of child endangering involving a 12-year-old.
Both defendants were in the county jail Wednesday.
Durham pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Tuesday. Common Pleas Judge Michael J. Ernest set his bail at $75,000. If he were able to post bail, Durham would be required to submit to pretrial supervision, wear a location monitoring device and stay away from the alleged victim and other children.
Murphy has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity before Common Pleas Judge Elizabeth Lehigh Thomakos. She ordered a report about his competency and sanity from District IX of the Forensic Diagnostic Center in Cambridge.
Assistant county prosecutor Kristine Beard has asked Thomakos to hold Murphy without bail. Public defender Nicole Stephan objected to the motion at a hearing held Wednesday.
Thomakos said she will make a decision about bail after watching cell phone video of the alleged offenses. The video was provided by the man who reported Murphy to Uhrichsville police.
Uhrichsville police officer Codi Stark testified at Wednesday’s bond hearing. He said the alleged offenses were reported by a man who saw the situation unfold after he noticed an adult male and a boy roughhousing in a yard next to his.
“He claimed that he observed the adult male put the juvenile down on the ground, pulled his pants or shorts and underwear completely down around the juvenile’s ankles, at which time the adult male begins to unfasten his belt and pull his pants down,” Stark said. “It appeared to the complainant that the adult was going to attempt to have sexual intercourse.”
The witness said the adult and juvenile walked away separately after he yelled at them, Stark said.
Stark testified that Murphy was cooperative during his initial contact with him and subsequent arrest.
Murphy was often in the neighborhood where the alleged crimes occurred because he played with the alleged victim and other children, according to Stark, who said the defendant has the mentality of a 7- or 8-year-old. The officer said Murphy lives with his aunt and uncle.
Beard asked the judge to hold Murphy without bail based on the nature of the case, and the fact that the alleged offenses occurred in daylight in someone’s back yard.
“And the only reason, probably, we really even know about it, is because the gentleman taped the event with his cell phone,” the prosecutor said.
She said Murphy should remain in jail because he does not appear to be able to understand the “extreme inappropriateness of what happened,” because of his disability, and because of his access to the neighborhood.
“It this point in time, there’s really no good place for him to be,” Beard said. She said bond or a residential placement could be considered possible after psychological evaluations are completed. “I truly believe that at this point in time, he does present a danger. There is no good way to have him out in the community.”
Stephan argued in favor of keeping Murphy’s bond at $250,000.
She said Murphy receives Social Security payments, which have likely been suspended because he has been in jail for over 30 days. The defense attorney noted that her client has not been able to post bond.
She said the state and federal constitutions prohibit excessive bail.
“The primary function of bail is to allow pretrial release while also ensuring the accused person will appear in court,” Stephan said.
She said bail conditions may be imposed to protect an individual or the public.
“My client clearly has a mental disability,” Stephan said. She said his daily habit involves going to the neighborhood where the alleged crimes occurred to play with the children who live there. A bail condition could ban him from visiting the neighborhood or its children.
She said Murphy has no criminal history, is not alleged to have used a weapon, and has engaged with mental health services.
Reach Nancy at 330-364-8402 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter: @nmolnarTR
This article originally appeared on The Times-Reporter: Two men charged with sex crimes against children ages 8 and 12