EXCLUSIVE: Omaha dance studio owner reassures families as previous owner faces federal charges

Darci Bray says safety of dancers, families is her top priority: ‘We are trusting the investigation.’
Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 6:04 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A day after a former owner of an Omaha dance studio was charged in federal court, the current owner talked with 6 News about the situation, sharing some reassuring words for her dance students and their families.

Darci Bray is the current owner and director of The Dance Authority.

“My top priority and main concern is the safety of the dancers and their families when they are in this building,” she told 6 News. “I want them to know to know they are 100% safe and confident walking through the doors.”

The FBI is concerned there may be more victims connected to the previous owner, Nicholas Murphy.

Bray bought The Dance Authority a year-and-a-half ago.

“What I have made clear to our families that are here is the Murphy family has not been affiliated with The Dance Authority since the sale of the business,” she said.

Some 200 young girls come through these doors to dance, from young children to teens. Some are just learning. Others take it more seriously — and even compete.

“The love and support we’ve felt from our families has been very strong,” Bray said. “I’m honored to lead the kids and their families here.”

Anyone with information about this ongoing investigation or who thinks their child may have been victimized by Nicholas Murphy is asked to report it online at fbi.gov/nicholasmurphy; or call the FBI Omaha field office at 402-493-8688.

In court on Wednesday, Judge Bazis allowed — with several conditions — Murphy to fly back to Arizona to live — not with his family, but with his parents while awaiting trial.

The accusation is that when he was a co-owner of the dance studio with his wife, from 2012 to 2022, he had sexual contact with a girl younger than age 18 — allegedly traveling and transporting her from Omaha to Tucson, Ariz. His 14-year-old stepdaughter, according to the government, is a potential witness in the case.

The concern from the FBI: There could be more victims from the dance studio; after all, Murphy owned it for a decade.

Bray attended Thursday’s court hearing, wanting to hear the allegation against Murphy herself.

“We are trusting the investigation and the legal authorities to do the due diligence and to find the truth,” she told 6 News.

On Wednesday, agents with the FBI’s Omaha office put out a plea to the public, just in case there are other potential victims. 6 News called the FBI on Thursday to see whether they had received any calls — and if so, how many. They said they cannot release that information because it’s an ongoing investigation.