PHILIPPI, W.Va. — A Barbour County jury found Alderson Broaddus University partially liable in the civil case of a women’s basketball coach who confessed to photographing players in the nude without their knowledge or consent in 2011.
The jury, consisting of four women and two men, found Alderson Broaddus 30 percent liable. Former assistant women’s basketball coach and resident hall director Collins Murphy was ruled 70 percent liable.
The jury awarded $800,000 in restitution.
Murphy confessed to placing the camera in their dorm bathroom and taking the photographs in 2014. Senior Judge John Lewis Marks Jr. had already found him to be liable prior to the seating of the jury.
The four women involved in the case included AB in the suit, claiming they were “negligent in retaining, supervising or training” Murphy.
“Collins Murphy stole the innocence of Cayla Rhodes, Erica Brooks, Emily Sarver, and Kristin Burnside. He stole their innocence. Naked photographs of them were seen by him, (former AB basketball player) O’Dell Eargle and who knows who else. This opportunity was created by Alderson Broaddus’ negligence,” attorney Stephen New said during closing arguments.
During the seven-day trial, witnesses stated that Erica Brooks, then 19, approached the head women’s basketball coach Josh Allen — who testified Monday — with concern that Murphy had been following her. Allen testified that he did not feel Brooks’ concern classified as harassment and thus did not take any further action.
However, “situations of stalking can and often do escalate to other forms of sexual misconduct,” New said.
As part of the case, Brooks, Burnside, Rhodes and Sarver sought damages for mental and emotional distress, as well as the loss of enjoyment of life.
“Their injuries don’t result from the placing of hidden cameras,” New said. “Their injuries result from their naked images ending up on pornographic websites.”
A criminal trial against Murphy has not yet been pursued. He’s currently employed at Georgetown University.