Thomas Bray sentenced to 25 years for rape, abuse

Judge says assault was one act, Measure 73 doesn't apply

POSTED: 10:59 AM PDT September 28, 2012    UPDATED: 5:12 PM PDT September 29, 2012 
BEND, Ore. -

A Bend judge on Friday sentenced former COCC anatomy instructor Thomas Bray to 25 years in prison in the rape of a woman he contacted online and met for a date in downtown Bend in February of last year.

The 300-month sentence imposed by Deschutes County Circuit Judge Stephen Tiktin, who convicted Bray after a non-jury trial this summer, was far more than the 10-year sentence requested by defense lawyer Stephen Houze but much less than the 83-year prison term initially sought by prosecutors.

Tiktin had ruled earlier Friday that the attack was one continual assault and thus did not fall under the mandatory minimum of 25 years under Ballot Measure 25, approved by voters in 2010 for repeat felony sex offenders.

However, the judge imposed the 25-year term anyway, along with 140 months (11 2/3 years) of post-prison supervision.

“In this case, the defendant, even after the first rape, continued this mental and emotional abuse of (the victim),” Tiktin had said. "Therefore, Measure 73 doesn't apply."

Tiktin said he'd came to that decision the day after the last sentencing hearing, held Sept. 17.

Bray entered the courtroom Friday in blue jail uniform, looking straight ahead, hands and feet cuffed.

Tiktin, who heard the case after Bray waived his right to a jury trial, found him guilty July 30 on all six charges involving a woman he met on Match.com in February of last year, but acquitted him on five counts involving an ex-student he briefly dated while teaching at COCC.

Bray, 38, has been jailed since his conviction on two counts each of first-degree rape and sodomy, and single counts of fourth-degree assault and strangulation.

Cameras were not allowed in court again for the sentencing, as they were not for the non-jury trial, in which Bray was found guilty of the rape of a woman he took for a date in downtown Bend. The two then returned to his apartment in the Franklin Crossing building, where after a glass of wine he assaulted her for several hours.

Bray had an account on Match.com for more than a decade. Now the convicted rapist will spend more than two decades behind bars for what he did to a woman he met there.

"Each case is different, each case has it's own unique factors, but I think in this case 25 years is appropriate," said Deputy DA Brigid Turner.

Bray's 300-month sentence breaks down to, 100 months for each of his four felony sex abuse charges. Three will run consecutively, while the last 100 months will run concurrently. He also got two six-month sentences for the strangulation and assault convictions.

Because they are Measure 11 crimes, Bray will not be eligible for early release, meaning he will be locked up until he's 63.

"Will he be deterred from committing other offenses when he gets out of jail in his 60s? I think so," said District Attorney Patrick Flaherty.

Consecutive sentences are usually used when there is an aggravating factor, such as the victim in a rape case being underage or unable to consent.

Tiktin told Bray he had his chance to stop after the first rape but didn't, so Tiktin told him his sentence would reflect those multiple acts, conduct he called "abhorrent."

Turner says that's the way it should be, after what Bray did.

"(It was) just vicious and callous, the way he attacked her, the way he terrorized her," she said..

With the case finally wrapped up, pending an appeal by Bray, Flaherty says the focus is shifting to others he may have met online.

"We believe that he's using Match.com and probably other dating services just as a database to search for victims," the DA said..

Turner says the victim in this case was instrumental in putting Bray behind bars.

"If it wasn't for her strength and willingness to come forward, this case could have turned out very differently," said Turner.

Tiktin also ordered Bray to pay $112,000 as a compensatory fine, about $50,000 of which will go to the victim. Another $19,000 will go to reimburse her employer for nearly 1,000 hours of sick leave they donated to the victim.

Tiktin granted the lost earnings request, calling it “a very conservative request by the victim and the state.”

The victim addressed the judge Friday, first noting that less than half of all sexual assaults are reported.

 “I stand here as one of the brave, with a support network,” she said. “That’s made me able to stand up for those who suffer in silence.”

“I lost my job, my home, my vitality, my sense of safety – and my smile,” she said. “Why bother to report it? It was for my own peace of mind. I needed to make sure nobody else would be hurt by Mr. Bray,” who she said “has demonstrated no remorse.”

District Attorney Patrick Flaherty again asked the judge to impose consecutive sentences on the convictions. The prosecution wants a 100-month sentence on each abuse count, or 400 months (more than 33 years).

“To not impose consecutive sentences is to say to violent offenders, as long as your conduct is continuous and uninterrupted, you will only be punished for the first offense you commit.”

Defense attorney Stephen Houze of Portland requested a 120-month (10-year) sentence instead.

“A sentence of 120 months is a severe prison term for someone, under these circumstances,” he said.

In a statement issued later Friday, Flaherty said his office "deeply appreciated the amount of time and resources dedicated by the Bend Police Department that allowed us to successfully prosecute this dangerous predatory sex offender."