Man charged with sexually assaulting tenants

Darrin Murphy

FRONT ROYAL – A man accused of luring women desperate for housing into his residence and sexually exploiting them was returned to jail Tuesday without bail after a hearing in Warren County General District Court.

The defendant, Darrin William Murphy, 47, of Linden, is charged with two counts of sexual battery and one count each of rape and forcible sodomy.

Protective orders obtained by two women who have lived with Murphy recently at his residence described repeated incidents of unwanted sexual contact after they moved in.

“I am a resident at his home and fear for my life,” one woman wrote. “This has been ongoing for several months, and I am assaulted about every three days, give or take. He found me when I was looking for a room to rent on Craigslist and has been abusing me for several months.”

The woman added that she was afraid to speak up “for fear of being homeless or hurt or worse, killed, since he has made threats….”

Another woman told a similar story.

“On May 10, 2016, Darrin Murphy called me about a place for my kids and me,” the woman wrote in an affidavit accompanying her protective order. “Ever since then, he has been raping me….”

The woman said Murphy offered to pay for pre-school for her son if she will perform sex acts with him every day.

She said Murphy’s offer to pay for pre-school education in exchange for sex led her to call her mother who notified law enforcement.

Defense attorney John Bell asked General District Judge W. Dale Houff to set an affordable bond for his client. Bell cited the need for Murphy to be available to care for his ailing mother among the reasons why he should be allowed to return home.

Bell said Murphy’s wife and in-laws live with him at the residence where the alleged sexual abuse was committed.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Layton and Bell agreed that Murphy has an extensive prior criminal record.

Layton said the investigation is continuing and additional charges are likely.

“Certainly based on what we’ve seen so far, and the very real possibility of additional charges, we would ask that the bond not be disturbed,” Layton told Houff.

A criminal complaint written by a sheriff’s deputy who investigated one of the cases states that Murphy asserted that “nothing happened” between him and the woman who moved into his residence in May.

Murphy said “she was upset because he wouldn’t let her boyfriend move in,” the complaint states.

Houff said he could not justify bail for Murphy based on the serious accusations made against him by law enforcement officials and the alleged victims.

“There’s too much danger to these people,” Houff said of the women who obtained the protective orders.