Police Investigate Baby-Sitter
A foster carer under investigation for alleged sexual
abuse is baby-sitting children in central Victoria.
And the law is powerless to stop him.
Vincent Michael Murphy, 57, is the subject of a police
inquiry into allegations he abused girls in his care.
Police have searched his home and interviewed him as
part of an investigation into complaints from five girls
aged between 12 and 17. No charges have been laid.
The Department of Human Services has suspended him from
fostering children, pending the investigation.
Mr Murphy said he was aware of only two abuse complaints,
which he dismissed as baseless.
"Obviously not. It's not true," he said.
Police have statements from four girls who were aged 12, 14, 15 and 17 at
the time of the alleged abuse.
The statements are believed to detail allegations of sexual
penetration and inappropriate touching.
Police are also investigating claims Mr Murphy had a live-in
sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl in South Australia in 1994.
Debra, the mother of the 12-year-old girl, wanted the
investigation publicly exposed.
"I can't help my own daughter because it's already happened
to her, I just don't want it to happen to other kids," she said.
Debra alleged Mr Murphy had held a pillow over her daughter's
face and raped her during a trip to a farm near Echuca in 2002.
Her daughter told a school counsellor about it in November,
last year, and a complaint was made to police.
But Mr Murphy said he only knew of complaints made in 2000 and 2003.
He insisted he had undergone the relevant police checks and
remained listed as a foster carer with Mallee Family Care. But a
foster child was removed from his care in 2003.
He showed the Sunday Herald Sun at least 24 written references
from parents, teachers and children he has cared for in the past.
His wife, Sandra Brown, said he was being unfairly targeted.
"The children that go into care make accusations of this kind all
the time and carers are put into a (difficult) position," she said.
Ms Brown said the couple had taken in about 30 foster children
since 1997, when they moved to Victoria from Adelaide.
She said they currently baby-sat children aged between one and
12 at their home in Shelbourne, near Bendigo.
She described the baby-sitting service as "casual", saying there
were up to 12 families whose children they cared for.
She and Mr Murphy had told them about the investigation.
Victoria Police said the Bendigo Criminal Investigation Unit's
inquiries were continuing.
A Department of Human Services spokeswoman confirmed Mr Murphy
had been suspended as a foster carer in 2003.
"He is not involved with child protection clients," she said.
The spokeswoman also said the department was assisting police
with their inquiries.
Mr Murphy and his wife said the allegations were raised out of
spite and collusion.
"One girl made an accusation against me. It was refuted the same day.
The people came out here to check it and everything was fine," Mr Murphy said.
Ms Brown claimed the girl withdrew the complaint but had changed her
story several years later to say she had been sexually assaulted.
Ms Brown and Mr Murphy believe the girl made the claim after meeting
another teenage girl with a similar complaint.
Ms Brown believed the girl had changed her story over "sour grapes" because
Ms Brown had alerted authorities to concerns about the welfare of the girl's own baby.
Mr Murphy said he had no convictions and had undergone the police
background check that allowed him to care for kids.
Herald Sun (5-6-2005)