austin murphy

Austin Murphy, 18, of Conway was arraigned recently on a charge of Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Images. (POLICE MUGSHOT)

CONWAY — An 18-year-old Conway man was taken into custody recently on an open warrant for possession of child sexual abuse images.

The charge against Austin Murphy was brought after a lengthy investigation that was initiated by the Conway Police Department Investigative Services Division after being advised by the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force that they had flagged an account originating in the Town of Conway.

The ICAC is a multi-jurisdictional team made up of law enforcement officers from several different agencies in New Hampshire. They are responsible for investigating cases of child sexual exploitation involving the use of high technology throughout the state.

Multiple search warrants were executed during the investigation, and there are several more pending. Investigators anticipate additional charges to follow.

None of the images found on Murphy’s electronic devices appeared to involve local children, police said.

Murphy is facing nine counts of possession of child sexual abuse images.

The criminal complaints allege that he possessed images of boys performing sexual acts with men or alone. One of the complaints said there was in image of a man having sex with a six month old infant.

A police affidavit written by Detective Domenic Torch explained what led to Murphy's arrest. An electronic service provider called Dropbox gave a tip to the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children that four clips containing child pornography were uploaded at the end of December.

According to the affidavit, ICAC told Conway Police about Murphy in January.

Police were able to trace the account back to Murphy. The Dropbox screen name was "Austin Apple Seed." The email account associated with the count contained his first and last name.

Police received a warrant to search Time Warner Cable and Verizon records. The upshot was "the cellular device associated with Austin Murphy was accessing the internet during the same date, time and with the same IP address as was logged and reported by Dropbox."

In March, police found that Murphy had moved out of town and information was passed to ICAC.

"On Aug. 6, 2018, Detective (Richard) Theberge was working a patrol shift when he was dispatched to the lobby of the station for someone who had turned in a license and cellphone case," wrote Torch in the affidavit. "When he received the driver's license he noticed that the driver's license belonged to Austin Murphy."

The new license said that Murphy was living in town. Lt. Chris Mattei was able to find Murphy working at a local restaurant. Mattei returned the property and asked Murphy about a complaint about officers that Murphy had filed and later withdrew.

During a conversation about that complaint, Mattei asked Murphy to confirm his email addresses, and Murphy did, including the one police say was connected to the Dropbox account.

Police also were given warrants for Apple and Google accounts, according to the affidavit. Police say Murphy opened a second Dropbox account with the name "Bob Marley."

A folder in the new Dropbox account was  labeled "boyzzz" and allegedly contained four child porn videos and an image.

The charge of Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Images as defined by NH RSA 649-A:3 is brought forward as a Class A felony with a maximum penalty of imprisonment in excess of seven years.

Murphy was taken into custody on Oct. 23 and arraigned in the Carroll County Superior Court on Oct. 24. He was released on an unsecured bond of $10,000 under the conditions that he is not to have unsupervised contact with any minor and he is not to use any electronic device that can access the internet.

On Oct. 24, Murphy entered a not guilty plea and waiver of arraignment.

Murphy has a Dec. 5 status conference.

The Conway Police Department wanted to thank the members of the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force for their continued assistance with the investigation.

On Nov. 28, Kennett High School and Conway police will host Detective Eric James from the Grafton County Sheriff's Office and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force at 6:30 p.m.

James told the Sun the Grafton County Sheriff's Office recently started a cyber crimes lab.

"With the assistance of the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Unit and Homeland Security, we were able to get some training and some funding to get equipment to the North Country for not only Grafton County but all of northern New Hampshire," said James.

"We will help with anyone (law enforcement) if they have a valid search warrant or consent as our time and our resources allow."

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