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Testimony in child sex abuse trial becomes technical

POSTED: April 12, 2013 2:17 a.m.

Testimony continued Thursday in Hall County Superior Court at the trial of a Gainesville man charged with multiple child sex and exploitation charges.

Christopher Thomas Ray, 31, is charged with more than 20 counts of child sex crimes, in addition to some controlled substance violations.

Ray pleaded not guilty to all charges involving the alleged victims, who were brothers aged 10 and 12 at the time. He is charged with seven counts of aggravated child molestation, six counts of child molestation, one count of enticing a child for indecent purposes, one count of possession of Lorazapam (a tranquilizer) with intent to distribute, one count of attempt to violate the Georgia controlled substances act and 10 counts of sexual exploitation of children.

Both victims testified before the jury in Hall County Superior Court under presiding judge Bonnie Oliver.

The morning of the second day of witness testimony was less emotional and more technical.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Bobby Stanley focused on the contents of Ray’s computer.

Stanley, from the high tech investigations unit, conducted the investigation into Ray’s desktop computer and laptop, and confirmed child pornography was on the desktop found in Ray’s house.

Prosecutors, using a 60-inch monitor that faced the jury and was not visible to court spectators, submitted several minutes of the pornography into evidence.

Neither of the alleged victims was in the child porn videos. Rather, beyond the illegality of possession, it is alleged that Ray used the videos to sexually entice the minors.

But prosecutors did submit additional images showing the alleged victims into evidence, including a darkly lit video with loud breathing, which prosecutors said was snoring, as well as pictures of the boys sleeping in a car.

When the younger alleged victim testified after lunch, the 13-year-old often mumbled, bit his nails and broke down several times.

“I don’t know what they wanted from me,” he said in tears, testifying about his ordeal in foster care. “I had to sit there for two years not seeing my mother.”

Both boys were taken from their mother and placed in child protective services shortly after the molestation investigation started.

Ray’s lead attorney, Brett Willis from the Hall County Public Defender’s office, asked the child in cross-examination if he had lied about the abuse as an avenue to get out of foster care, an implication prosecutor Kelly Robertson addressed in redirect examination, and the child denied.

That child testified that Ray had molested him, but said he remembered little, or didn’t know specific details, in contrast with the second, older alleged victim, whom the state called as its next witness.

“There were a lot of mixed emotions,” the 15-year-old said. “First it grew to a friendship. Then a father figure. Then, I guess, a boyfriend.”

One of the biggest variations in testimony was the reason for the second victim’s personal falling-out with Ray.

Ray’s defense attorneys, and testimony from the younger victim, alleged it was his abuse of Ray’s cat that led to his alienation from the defendant.

On the stand, the older victim said it was Ray’s decision to discontinue a sexual relationship, and attention to the younger brother.

Prosecutors did not have time to finish their examination of the alleged second victim. Around 7:15 p.m., Oliver suggested pausing for the day, a move both sides agreed to.

The jury will reconvene today at 9 a.m.


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