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Mass. man accused of blackmail after sexual tryst with Salem man

Union Leader Correspondent

September 11. 2013 9:16PM


BRENTWOOD — A Springfield, Mass., man accused of blackmailing a married Salem man he met for a sexual tryst is now facing extortion and harassment charges.

William Gray, 48, was indicted by a grand jury on single counts of attempted theft by extortion and harassment, according to prosecutors. He faces up to 7 ½ to 15 years in prison if convicted by a jury on the attempted-theft charge, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors say Gray forced the victim to pay $3,000 for furniture at a Bob’s Furniture store after the two had met through Craigslist for a sexual encounter. Gray allegedly threatened to tell the man’s wife that he had a sexual encounter with him, according to investigators.

Gray was seeking another $2,400 more from him when the victim turned to Salem police for help on April 17, according to prosecutors.

Gray was arrested by Salem police on May 9.

Gray’s lawyers have argued that the victim was not being entirely honest with police about the incident.

During two phone calls monitored by Salem police, Gray never explicitly said he was going to tell the alleged victim’s wife about the sexual encounter, according to public defenders.

Salem police Detective Michael White testified at a court hearing in May that the two men decided to meet at a Friendly’s restaurant prior to their sexual encounter.

After, Gray wanted a ride back to the restaurant, White said.

While riding as a passenger in the victim’s car, Gray “began to make statements that their encounter was recorded and he would disclose the encounter to his wife,” White testified. “He also began to recite personal information that the alleged victim did not give him.”

Gray, who claimed his first name was “David,” recited the alleged victim’s home address and the name of his wife and daughter, according to White.

Police said Gray threatened the man again on April 17, telling him that he was calling from a nearby Salem motel and he was going “to go to (the victim’s) house with his boys and tell wife about his encounter,” if the man refused to pay the money, White testified.

Gray will be arraigned on the charges later this month in Rockingham County Superior Court.

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