An investigation conducted by the Edgartown police department has revealed that Daniel Murphy, a longtime music teacher at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School who suddenly left his position in June, was involved in an intimate relationship with a female student during the past school year. But because the student was 16, the legal age of consent in Massachusetts, police said no charges will be brought against Mr. Murphy.
Due to the sensitive nature of the investigation, police have been guarded in releasing details about the case to the public. A police incident report requested by the Gazette shows that Mr. Murphy may have abused his position as a teacher to gain the trust of the alleged victim, who was a sophomore honor student at the high school at the time.
The police report includes a detailed record of telephone calls, text messages and intimate exchanges between Mr. Murphy and the student both in and outside of school.
In Massachusetts it is not a crime when a teacher uses his position to take advantage of a student.
Last month, Vineyard schools superintendent Dr. James H. Weiss confirmed Mr. Murphy no longer worked for the school. He could not say whether he had resigned or was terminated. Reached by telephone yesterday, Mr. Weiss reiterated that Mr. Murphy no longer works for the school.
He did confirm that he has notified the Massachusetts Department of Education that an internal school investigation into Mr. Murphy had taken place.
Mr. Weiss said the department of education has begun a review into the allegations against Mr. Murphy, which could among other things result in the revocation of his teaching license.
The 11-page incident report provided by Edgartown police states that the student first revealed to her parents on May 30 that she was having an ongoing relationship with Mr. Murphy. Police arranged for the student to visit Children’s Cove, a nonprofit counseling center in Barnstable.
Mr. Murphy, who was a music teacher and director of the Minnesingers, an elite high school choral group, was a peer advisor to the student. He lives in Edgartown.
The police report shows that in December the parents of the victim spoke with Mary MacDonald from the high school guidance department after finding a text message on their daughter’s cell phone from Mr. Murphy that concerned them.
Mr. Murphy came to the family’s house several days later to apologize and explain he was the student’s peer advisor and was using the text messages to provide advice and guidance.
Edgartown police chief Paul Condlin said yesterday that the Cape and Islands district attorney’s office has concurred that there may not be enough evidence to support criminal charges in the case.
Mr. Weiss said at the present time he believes the incident is isolated. But he encourages any other students who may have had similar experiences to come forward and talk with police.
Anyone with information relating to the case is asked to contact Edgartown Detective Craig Edwards at 508-627-4311, extension 14.