A McArthur man has been arrested and charged in connection with the reported threat made against the Vinton County High School campus last Thursday, Oct. 7 which resulted in all classes in the school district being closed last Friday, Oct. 8.

In a Facebook post placed last Friday, Oct. 8, Vinton County Prosecutor Jim Payne announced that a felony-level charge of inducing panic was filed against 56-year-old Michael C. Murphy of McArthur on Friday morning and that he was taken into custody that same afternoon.

Prosecutor Payne’s Facebook complete Facebook post follows:

“On Thursday, Oct. 7, an individual reported that a crime was going to be committed by several people at Vinton County High School. Out of an abundance of caution, Vinton County Schools Superintendent Rick Brooks canceled school on Friday, Oct. 8, the date said crime was to take place.

“The Vinton County Sheriff's Department has received multiple calls from this individual over the course of several months, as have the Ohio Governor's Office, BCI, Vinton County Court and other agencies and offices. Some of the allegations were accusations of corruption on various elected officials and, upon investigation, there was no substantiation of the allegations. Once this most recent allegation was made and the high school was closed, a meeting was held by Prosecutor Jim Payne, his assistant prosecutor William Archer, Jr., and a detective from the Vinton County Sheriff's Department to discuss what steps need to be taken following this incident.

“Acting on evidence and information provided, Prosecutor Payne, on Friday morning, Oct. 8, filed a second-degree felony charge of Inducing Panic against Michael C. Murphy, age 56, of McArthur. If convicted, this charge could be punishable by a minimum term of incarceration between two to eight years and up to a maximum term of 12 years. Later that afternoon, Mr. Murphy was taken into custody and will be arraigned in Vinton County Court by Judge Jeffrey Griffith. Because of the seriousness of the charge, Prosecutor Payne recommended a cash or surety bond in the amount of $75,000. A preliminary hearing in this matter is expected to be held within 10 days.

“The safety and well-being of all residents of Vinton County is important to the Prosecutor's Office as well as the Sheriff's Department, but this is especially true of our children. Any threat to children and/or to schools will always be taken seriously and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Please rest assured that this threat is over and that the situation is under control. There is no cause to believe that parents, custodians and school personnel need to worry about their safety or that of their children in regard to this incident. All school functions, including the Homecoming game and dance, are expected to continue as previously scheduled.”

After learning of the threat, and prior to any arrest being made, Vinton County Superintendent of Schools Rick Brooks announced late Thursday evening that all schools in the district would be closed on Friday due to the threat made against the high school with a decision to be made later about Homecoming football game and associated activities set for Friday and Saturday evening. However, Brooks was able to announce by midday Friday that the Homecoming activities could go forward. He issued the following statement: “The recent threat to Vinton County High School has been investigated. The Homecoming Game and Dance are on as scheduled.”