Bray rape trial begins; ex-girlfriend speaks out
Prosecution says ex-COCC teacher had 'rape fantasy'
Two Bend women accuse Thomas Bray of raping them, and Tuesday afternoon, his trial on nearly two dozen sexual assault charges began. Cameras were not allowed in the courtroom, at the alleged victim's request.
One of the accusers in the case testified, and Portland defense attorney Stephen Houze and Deschutes County District Attorney Patrick Flaherty both gave their opening arguments to a packed courtroom -- but no jury. Judge Stephen Tiktin will decide Bray's fate.
A 22-year-old woman, who we will not name, told the judge that Bray was her anatomy teacher at COCC. She described a night at Ten Barrel Brew Pub after a mid-term where Bray bought them all drinks, and later she went back to his apartment.
The woman said she was extremely drunk that night and had sex with Bray, but doesn't really remember it because she was so intoxicated.
Days later, she says Bray told her about a "rape fantasy" and asked her to e-mail him what she called a "rape permission slip."
Prosecutors say Bray brutally raped her, spat on her, slapped her and called her names the next time they were together. She told the judge, breaking the handcuffs he put on was her only escape, but later that night they had sex.
Prosecutors say the woman, who is 17 years younger than Bray, repeatedly lied to police, saying the sex was consensual, because she was scared of him and worried about her grades.
Bray's attorney says evidence will prove the woman willingly had consensual sex with him between 30 and 40 times.
There's been talk in court about a video allegedly showing Bray beating his ex-girlfriend who lives in California. On Monday, I spoke with her by phone, and she told me about that video and her relationship with Bray.
Only wanting to be identified by her first name, Bray's ex-girlfriend, Ashley, told me their relationship started online at the dating Website Match.com.
"I searched and I went through all the pictures and I was like, 'Him'," Ashley told me.
Ashley thought Bray was handsome and looked like the guy for her. But he didn't respond when she sent him a message. Not ready to give up, she tried one more time.
"So I winked at him (referring to the winking emoticon), and we sent like one, or two, or three e-mails, and then we met for a drink," said Ashley.
Almost identical to Ashley's first encounters with Bray are those of a young Bend woman. But that woman told police their meeting on Match.com, followed by drinks at a French bistro downtown, turned into hours of sexual abuse at Bray's apartment.
Ashley, who dated Bray for two years, found out over the phone.
"I literally gasped and I go, 'No way -- no, no way'," Ashley recalled.
Ashley knew Bray when he was an anesthesiologist, but a sports injury took the job he loved away from him. Now, she thinks his successful past is what's really bringing out the allegations against him.
"I think that she's trying to extort money," Ashley said, referring to one of his accusers.
Ashley told me there is no way she would have Bray's back if she thought he was capable of hurting a woman. But court records and evidence from the police do not portray the Thomas Bray she knows and loves.
"The truth always comes out, and I hope both sides get a fair trial," said Ashley.
About the video allegedly showing Bray hitting Ashley, she says it's all a misunderstanding.
She told me the video is from surveillance footage outside her mother's home.
Ashley says it was just a "play fight" that was caught on camera, and she used a still image of it to get a restraining order against Bray, which she told me she could only explain as the way "rich kids fight."
The trial picks back up Wednesday.
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