Editor's note: This article has been updated with consideration to the alleged victims.
LACONIA — An Alton man is facing multiple charges related to alleged sexual assaults and other sexual misconduct involving two teenage boys who worked for him, and authorities believe more juveniles may have also been abused.
John E. Murray, 55, of 104 Timber Ridge Road, is charged with 11 complaints of sexual assault, possession of child sex abuse images (child pornography), and sex trafficking. He is currently being held without bail at the Belknap County Jail.
Murray was arrested last Thursday, a week after one of the alleged victims went to Alton Police and said that he had been sexually assaulted and paid cash to provide pornographic videos and pictures to Murray, who he said was his boss at West Alton Marina.
The alleged victim named four other teenage boys, all between 13 and 18, who worked at the marina, and that he had been sexually assaulted by Murray, who is identified as the marina’s manager, according to a sworn affidavit signed by Alton Police Detective Adam Painchaud.
West Alton Marina released a statement saying they were stunned by the allegations, and that Murray is no longer employed at the business.
Murray’s arrest followed forensic interviews last Wednesday at the Child Advocacy Center in Laconia of the alleged victim who went to police, and another under-age boy who also worked at the marina. The two are identified in the affidavit as John Doe 1 and John Doe 2.
John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 told police and CAC interviewers that Murray abused them regularly and requested explicit pictures and videos in exchange for cash, according to the affidavit.
Painchaud wrote that when he went to Murray’s house last Thursday he asked him if he had any idea why the officer was there. He stated that Murray replied that it might have to do with something one of the “kids” who work as seasonal employees at the marina might have said. During the interview with Painchaud Murray allegedly named several of the approximately 20 young employees, including John Doe 1 and John Doe 2.
The following day Murray was arraigned on one charge of aggravated felonious sexual assault, two charges of felonious sexual assault, six charges of manufacturing of child sex abuse images, and two charges of sex trafficking.
The felonious sexual assault charges specify Murray used his position of authority over John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 in order to get them allegedly engage in sex acts and provide pornographic images.
According to the affidavit, one of the alleged victims said he was uncomfortable sending sexually explicit images to Murray and having Murray perform sex acts on him, but did not tell him to stop because he did not want to disappoint or upset his boss.
Belknap Superior Court Judge James D. O’Neill III ruled that Murray was a danger to the community, and ordered he be held in jail on preventive detention.
In a prepared statement emailed on Tuesday, in addition to reacting to the allegations against Murray, the marina indicated it would institute behavior guidelines for staff who work with minors.
“Our family is shocked and deeply saddened by the disturbing allegations against former employee John Murray," said Brian Fortier, one of the marina’s owners. “Our hearts are broken and our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected. We have hired outside counsel and consultants to undertake a thorough review of this matter. We will use this information to adapt policies and procedures that will ensure a safe environment for employees and the public. We will continue to carry on the vision of our parents and grandparents and dedicate our lives to making West Alton Marina a fun, loving, family destination.”
Belknap County Attorney Andrew Livernois said that the case is still under investigation, and that his office could possibly file additional charges.
“There is reasonable suspicion to believe other juveniles were sexually assaulted and solicited for sexually explicit media of themselves,” the affidavit states.
O’Neill’s detention ruling allows Murray to request a review of his bail status in the future.