A man who admitted sending sexually explicit images of himself to juveniles in Warren and Barren counties was sentenced Tuesday in federal court to 11 years and three months in prison.
Adam Murphy, 31, of Nashville, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green. He had pleaded guilty to charges of transfer of obscene materials to minors, attempted receipt of child pornography and interstate threatening communications.
Murphy was arrested last year after an investigation involving multiple law enforcement agencies linked him to a Snapchat account in which the user sent nude photos to juveniles in the area as young as 13 and threatened them with violence when they did not send pictures in return.
“I’m very sorry about everything,” Murphy said in court Tuesday. “Not a day goes by that I don’t wish I could take back everything.”
Murphy said a “strong chemical imbalance” in his brain contributed to his actions. His attorney, federal public defender Laura Wyrosdick, said Murphy’s mental health has improved with counseling and prescribed medication since his arrest.
A federal criminal complaint filed in August said juveniles who did not respond to Murphy’s messages were bombarded with pictures of his genitalia and threats that he would rape them and burn down their houses, even after the users told Murphy they were underage.
The Glasgow Police Department fielded complaints in April 2019 about what at the time was an unknown Snapchat user who reached out to two 14-year-old girls and sent them sexually explicit images.
That same month, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint regarding two 13-year-olds at a middle school who had received nude pictures via Snapchat from a user with the display name “Mark” after informing him of their age.
FBI Special Agent William Kurtz, who obtained a search warrant June 24 for the Snapchat account associated with the complaints, found the user had sent sexually explicit messages to multiple accounts.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol was contacted by GPD to conduct facial recognition searches on a picture sent from “Mark” to one of the identified victims, and the results of the search led to law enforcement identifying Murphy as a potential suspect.
Further investigation resulted in police identifying Murphy’s Nashville apartment and obtaining a search warrant for that location, from which officers seized multiple cellphones containing clothed and nude pictures of Murphy, court records show.
Murphy agreed to speak with the FBI in August and confirmed he was the user of the Snapchat account.
Murphy told investigators he searched girls’ names to find friends on Snapchat, and many users suggested by the app were for accounts belonging to juveniles in Kentucky, the criminal complaint said.
“Murphy thought someone was ‘messing’ with him because he could not find a girlfriend,” Kurtz said in the criminal complaint. “Murphy felt someone was pushing him toward underage girls. ... 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. 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 also confessed to making threats over the app and to receiving images of child pornography, but he was “adamant” that he never met any of the girls in person and never had sex with underage girls, according to the complaint.
The 11-year, three-month sentence was reached as part of a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky.
“There’s no question that the behavior in this case is reprehensible and utterly intolerable that seem to me to be borne of some kind of mental illness,” U.S. District Court Chief Judge Greg Stivers said during Tuesday’s sentencing.
Murphy will be placed on supervised release for nine years after completing his prison sentence.