Recognizing signs of physical child abuse
A former Estill County teacher who was previously charged with failing to report that a man she was in a relationship with was trying to have sex with underage students is now accused of hitting an underage girl in the mouth.
Sherry D. Murphy, 39, is now facing charges of intimidating a participant in the legal process and fourth-degree assault, according to court records. She was previously charged with unlawful transaction with a minor, tampering with evidence and failure to report child neglect or abuse.
Murphy resigned from her position as a teacher at Estill County High School on April 4, a day after police were called to the school for a complaint of a man who was using Facebook Messenger to contact an underage student for sex, according to court records. Investigators later accused the man, 35-year-old Torstein Torsteinson, of using his relationship with Murphy to get to the student, according to Kentucky State Police.
Murphy is accused of being aware of and not reporting Torsteinson’s alleged contact with at least four students, according to court records. She is also accused of deleting messages between herself and Torsteinson so that police would not see them.
After conducting additional interviews in the investigation on April 18 at Estill County High School, police accused Murphy of hitting an underage girl in the mouth in January, according to court records. The girl was injured in the incident, which reportedly occurred at Murphy’s house, police said.
Murphy is also accused of trying to cover up the alleged assault by forcing the girl to lie to social services and school officials, according to court records.
Torsteinson is charged with unlawful transaction with a minor and tampering with evidence, according to court records. He is being held in the Three Forks Regional Jail.
Murphy is scheduled to be arraigned on her new charges on May 3, according to court records. Due to a back injury, Murphy has been unable to be held in a jail and is instead on house arrest.