Former Java Ink owner pleads guilty to indecent exposure and assault charges

The former owner of an East Falls coffee shop pled guilty on Thursday to two charges stemming from an unseemly encounter with a customer. 

Sean Murray, 43, of the 1700 block of W. Erie Ave., received a pair of probation sentences in response to an incident that occurred at Java Ink earlier in the year. According to court testimony, on Feb. 15, at approximately 9:30 p.m., Murray invited a customer of his store into the rear area of the establishment, under the guise of showing off what were described as being pet turtles.

According to testimony, the customer, Molly Burnap, 18, a Rhode Island native currently attending Philadelphia University, accompanied Murray to the rear of the shop. While there, Murray put his arm around Burnap’s shoulder, grabbed her breasts, and proceeded to tell her that she was “beautiful.”

At this point, according to testimony, Murray removed his penis from his pants and exposed it to Burnap, who promptly left Java Ink with a friend and notified police.

Other run-ins with the law 

This wasn’t Murray’s first scrape with the law: In 1999, he pled guilty to carrying a firearm without a license, and was given a sentence of 18 to 36 months. He was also found guilty of receiving stolen property, for which he received a one to three year sentence.

In 2006, he pled guilty on charges of simple assault and theft, receiving a sentence of six months to one year.In 2012, Murray was found guilty on charges of institutional vandalism and criminal mischief and given 18 months of probation.

Relating to a separate incident brought before a judge that year, Murray was also found guilty of harassment. Charges of simple assault, indecent assault, and the corruption of a minor was withdrawn.

Murray is originally from Long Beach, N.Y. beginning his career in graphic design and tattooing. He decided to open a business in Philadelphia after visiting for a tattoo convention and seeing the mural art around the city.

Java Ink opened its doors on Midvale Avenue in East Falls in July of 2010. Murray told NewsWorks in an earlier interview that the property inspired him to create a unique pairing – a cafe that doubled as a tattoo parlor.

“I wanted to interconnect a comfortable, cafe atmosphere with the artistic environment of a tattoo shop,” said Murray in 2011. Plans to build out the tattoo element of the shop were expected to go forward last spring but it’s unclear if this was formally implemented.

Murray pleads guilty 

Murray was arrested on March 23 by officers from the 39th Police District on charges of indecent assault without consent, indecent exposure, and harassment, according to court records. He remained in custody since then on $10,000 bail.

Last week, the first attempt at a preliminary hearing was delayed because an attorney had not been appointed for the defendant.

On Thursday, Murray appeared in court wearing jeans and a gray flannel shirt, with the beginnings of a white beard accenting the edges of his face.

Seated before Judge Wendy Pew, Murray agreed to plead guilty to charges of simple assault and indecent exposure – both second-degree misdemeanors – in exchange for the charges of indecent assault and harassment being dropped. He originally faced up to four years of imprisonment.

In light of this deal with prosecutors, Pew sentenced Murray to two years of probation and 12 months of reporting probation under sex offender conditions, and ordered Murray to avoid contact with Burnap.

Murray has ten days to reconsider his guilty plea.

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