Women Enters Pleas in 1-year Disappearance of Teenage Girl

By: Stephanie Reitz
By: Stephanie Reitz

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Two women who lived in the home where a missing teenager was found hiding last year pleaded no contest to criminal charges Tuesday and could face up to 10 years in prison.

Kimberly Cray and Ann Murphy entered the pleas to kidnapping, conspiracy and risk of injury to a minor, attorneys in the case said. Prosecutors say the women helped hide the girl knowing she had been reported missing.

Murphy and Cray were the common-law wife and live-in girlfriend, respectively, of Adam Gault, 42, who pleaded guilty earlier to kidnapping and sexually assaulting the girl.

The girl was 14 when she disappeared in 2006 and moved in with Gault without her parents' knowledge, authorities said. Gault, who was a family acquaintance, told police officers and her family several times that he had no idea where she was.

Police searched the home in June 2007 fearing the girl was dead, but instead found her hiding in a locked storage area.

Prosecutors say he repeatedly sexually assaulted her while she lived with him, arranged for her to have an abortion when she became pregnant and forced her to use an assumed name.

Gault faces up to 30 years in prison and Cray and Murphy could face up to 10 years when all three are sentenced July 11.

The women were as complicit in the crimes as Adam Gault was, said Marc Needelman, a lawyer for the girl and her family. "They were not innocent bystanders. They looked away and allowed him to do what he did."

Michael Georgetti, Cray's defense attorney, said Tuesday that the judge left open the possibility of arguing for less prison time. Georgetti said he hopes the judge will consider the power that Gault held over Cray.

"Adam Gault is an individual who lives his life dominating people, especially women," Georgetti said.

Attorney Jeremy Weingast, who represents Murphy, said Gault also had a strong influence over Murphy, who "feels horrible for what happened to the girl."

The teen's family has said the girl worked with Cray as a dog trainer and then got to know Gault, a self-employed dog trainer.

Needelman said the girl is now 16 and attending school, but is still dealing with the emotional effects of the ordeal.

"She has some good days, she has some bad days," he said. "The scars are never going away for her or for her family. They went through hell."

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