Weekly Feature

2017-04-20 / Front Page

Volleyball coach facing sex act charges

Murtha Murtha The Maryvale High School boys volleyball coach is facing sex crime charges after allegedly exchanging sexually explicit messages and meeting with a 16-year-old boy.

Andrew T. Murtha, 39, of Depew, was arrested the morning of April 12 by New York State Police investigators, according to a press release from the agency. He was charged with third-degree criminal sexual act, a class E felony, and first-degree disseminating indecent material to a minor, a class D felony.

Maryvale officials offered a brief comment regarding the arrest last week, in which Superintendent Joseph R. D’Angelo said district officials were aware of the charges and were cooperating with law enforcement.

The Board of Education withdrew into executive session at Tuesday’s meeting to, in board President Craig Meyer’s words, “talk about the discipline of a particular individual.”

When the board reconvened following the executive session, neither Meyers nor D’Angelo would confirm whether the discussion involved Murtha. D’Angelo said district officials had not been in contact with police since news of Murtha’s arrest broke just before the Easter weekend and reiterated that the district was cooperating fully with the investigation.

He added that Murtha serves only as a volleyball coach for the school during the season. The charges are the result of an investigation, which state police said revealed that Murtha exchanged messages and pictures with a 16-year-old boy on a social media app and met with him for sexual conduct.

A search warrant was executed last week in Cheektowaga by state police investigators from Canandaigua, Clarence and Buffalo, where Murtha’s vehicle and cellular phone were seized and searched.

Authorities said the case began when troopers from the Canandaigua barracks were dispatched to Phelps, New York, in Ontario County, after parents discovered the boy sneaked out to meet Murtha.

According to the release, investigators learned that Murtha was in the Rochester area that weekend for a travel volleyball tournament and had reached out to the boy on a social media app. In addition to his position at Maryvale, Murtha is the coach of a boys travel volleyball team in Lockport, investigators reported.

Murtha was arrested in Cheektowaga and transported to the Canandaigua barracks for processing. He was arraigned in the Town of Phelps Court and remanded to Ontario County Jail in lieu of $2,000 bail. The investigation is continuing for any other potential victims.

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