November 20 2011

Convicted Sex Offender Found Working as Casting Director for Child Actors

Super 8 movie posterWhile you were enjoying the child actors in the recent hit movie Super 8, it seems that a convicted sex offender was the one responsible for putting them on screen.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Jason James Murphy spent five years in prison after kidnapping an 8-year-old boy in Seattle 15 years ago and molesting him.  After serving his sentence he moved to Hollywood and started working as a casting director under the name “Jason James,” and has climbed the ladder of success to where he has been working as a casting assistant on films such as the afore mentioned Super 8 and the upcoming Three Stooges, both of which feature child actors that he was responsible for hiring.

It was J.J. Abrams production company, Bad Robot, that put two and two together this week that they were the same person and notified authorities of the situation.  “It’s shocking and it’s devastating, not just as a filmmaker but as a father and someone who is entrusted to make sure that everyone I work with, especially children, are safe,” Abrams told the paper. “To think that someone like this was among us is unthinkable.”

Under California state law, a registered sex offender must notify the authorities of any aliases they work under so that those names can be added to the database.  It appears that Murphy never did this, and the name Jason James did not appear in any databases as a known offender.  Under these laws he is never supposed to be “working directly and in an unaccompanied setting with minor children on more than an incidental and occasional basis or have supervision or disciplinary power over minor children.”

Murphy was originally captured in 1996 after he was shown on America’s Most Wanted and was recognized by a hotel clerk as a guest.  Authorities found him, the boy and $8,000 in cash when they raided the room.

At this time, authorities say he is cooperating with their investigation into the matter.

I actually don’t blame anyone in the casting departments or the films he worked on.  If he never informed the authorities of the name he was working under, there would be no way for anyone to find him in the database, and this goes to show some disturbing lapses in the system.

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