West Virginia Record

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Murray's son says ex-wife coerced daughter to make damaging statements about him

State Court

By Chris Dickerson | Nov 1, 2019


WHEELING – Another lawsuit has been filed involving the son of the Murray Energy founder and his ex-wife regarding their children, claiming the woman coerced their adopted daughter to make false and damaging statements about him.

Jonathan Murray filed his lawsuit last month in Ohio Circuit Court against Melissa Saville.

A day earlier, a federal lawsuit filed by Jonathan Murray against Saville just days before he was accused of having sexual contact with his adopted pre-teen daughter in yet another lawsuit had been dismissed.


On Oct. 1, U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey filed an order dismissing Jonathan Murray’s case against Melissa Saville without prejudice. On Sept. 23, the civil lawsuit accusing Murray of allegedly having sexual contact with his adopted pre-teen daughter has been remanded to state court. U.S. District Judge Frederick Stamp sent the case against Murray back to state court (Ohio Circuit Court) and Judge Ronald Wilson.

According to Murray’s newest complaint, the couple’s 2011 divorce was “particularly contentious.”

“Over the years, plaintiff has reported instances of suspected abuse of plaintiff and defendant Saville’s minor children to various authorities,” the complaint states. “Plaintiff (Murray) was awarded primary custody of their two minor children. Defendant (Saville) was ordered to pay plaintiff child support, as well as contribute to the medical expenses of the children.”

In February, the Bureau of Child Support Enforcement entered an affidavit saying Saville hadn’t paid child support “for some time.”

On July 9, Murray claims Saville “coerced their minor daughter to make scandalous allegations against plaintiff to wrongfully obtain monies from plaintiff,” the complaint states. “The allegations are substantively and patently false, as the daughter was examined by multiple health care professionals over the years, and not once did the daughter make any type of allegation against plaintiff.”

Murray says Saville continued to allow the daughter to have unsupervised overnight visits with Murray, “showing that the allegations are false and motivated by defendant’s desire to wrongfully obtain monies from plaintiff.”

Murray says Saville’s actions, including the police being notified after the allegations were made, have damaged him. He says he has suffered severe emotional trauma, medical bills, emotional pain and suffering, embarrassment, humiliation, aggravation, inconvenience and other losses. He also says he has suffered extreme fear, torment and suffering.

He accuses Saville of intentional infliction of emotional distress, civil conspiracy and abuse of process.

Murray seeks general and special damages, attorney fees, court costs and other relief. He is being represented by Wheeling attorney Paul J. Harris.

The newest complaint filed by Murray has been assigned to Circuit Judge Jason Cuomo.

Jonathan Murray is a VP for Murray Energy and Murray American River Towing Inc. Both of those companies also are named as defendants in the original lawsuit, which was filed July 22 in Ohio Circuit Court. The complaint was filed by a woman identified as M.S., Jon Murray’s ex-wife and mother of the girl – identified as S.M. – at the heart of the issue.

Since her divorce from Murray in 2011, Saville has remarried. She filed her original civil lawsuit two days before former Murray Energy CEO Bob Murray hosted a private campaign fundraiser for President Donald Trump at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling.

Jon Murray, 43, works as a geologist for his father’s coal company, according to the original complaint. Murray Energy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this week.

In a press release at the time, Murray and the company described the original lawsuit filed by Saville as "destructive, scurrilous and blatantly false."

“He is the son of a highly successful, overbearing coal baron, who has ties to the President of the United States of America, who some regard wields power as an overlord and flaunts his power and wealth but refuses to share or promote his son Jon in any meaningful way,” the complaint states. “Mr. (Jon) Murray is believed to have had inappropriate sexual contact with more than on pre-pubescent female child.”

The daughter was born in Guatemala and given up by her mother at birth. She lived in Guatemalan foster care before being adopted by Murray and his ex-wife when they were married.

Ohio Circuit Court case number 19-C-248

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Ohio Circuit CourtMurray Energy

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