Earlier this year, law enforcement in Warren and Barren counties took reports from people complaining about a man who exposed himself to juveniles and threatened them with rape and other harm.
The man did this over the Snapchat app, and authorities said an investigation uncovered him in Tennessee and resulted in a federal indictment that was returned Wednesday.
Adam Murphy, 31, is charged in the five-count indictment with transfer of obscene materials to minors, attempted production of child pornography, attempted enticement, attempted receipt of child pornography and interstate threatening communications.
He will be arraigned Sept. 25 in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green.
Federal court records document allegations that Murphy sent explicit nude pictures of himself to several Snapchat users in the area, even after the users told him they were underage.
Three juveniles are identified as victims in the indictment, and court records indicate they were 13 or 14 years old at the time Murphy was in contact with them.
The Glasgow Police Department and Warren County Sheriff’s Office fielded complaints in April from juveniles who said they received unsolicited sexually explicit photos over Snapchat from a person with the display name “Mark.”
Two juveniles in Glasgow reported that they accepted friend requests from “Mark,” who they did not know.
The man sent messages to both girls before eventually sending them a picture of his genitalia.
A criminal complaint filed last month said one of the juveniles took screenshots of the explicit images she received, while the other juvenile and her mother engaged in a recorded conversation with “Mark” over Snapchat in which he threatened to rape them and set their house on fire.
In Warren County, two 13-year-olds reported receiving nude pictures from “Mark” in April even after telling him how old they were, court records show.
The FBI obtained a search warrant for the man’s Snapchat account, and uncovered a series of nude pictures he sent to various accounts from Dec. 18, 2018, to June 22, repeated messages requesting nude pictures from other users, sexually explicit messages and threats to rape the person with whom he was chatting.
During the investigation, Glasgow police asked the Tennessee Highway Patrol to conduct facial recognition searches based on a picture “Mark” sent to one of the identified victims, and the analysis led to Murphy being identified as a potential suspect.
Further investigation resulted in police identifying Murphy’s Nashville apartment and obtaining a search warrant for that location, which led to the seizure of multiple cellphones that featured clothed and nude pictures of Murphy on them.
Murphy confessed that the Snapchat account belonged to him, court records show, and that he searched random girl names on Snapchat for sending friend requests and that many of the accounts suggested for him belonged to underage girls in Kentucky.
“Murphy thought someone was ‘messing’ with him because he could not get a girlfriend,” FBI Special Agent Will Kurtz wrote in a criminal complaint. “Murphy felt someone was pushing him toward underage girls.”
If his friend request was accepted, Murphy would send the girl a message and a picture of himself, the complaint said.
Murphy said he started by sending a nice message but barely got any responses and he would send pictures of his genitals to users who “were rude or rejected Murphy’s advances.”
“Murphy blamed the girls for being mean to him online, which drove him to continue sending the nude pictures even after he knew they were underage,” Kurtz said in the complaint. “Murphy repeatedly stated he was not in the right state of mind when sending these pictures and that he would not have done these things to people who were nice to him.”
Murphy admitted making threats over Snapchat and to sending and receiving nude images, but he denied he met any of the juveniles in person or had sex with them.
– Follow courts reporter Justin Story on Twitter @jstorydailynews or visit bgdailynews.com.