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Ex-Salem planner sentenced 7-14 years for sexual assault

Union Leader Correspondent

September 05. 2012 1:03PM
Ex-Salem Planning Board member Jeffrey Gray. 50, enters court on Wednesday morning prior to his sentencing. He was convicted by a jury in June of aggravated felonious sexual assault. 
BRENTWOOD - Ex-Salem Planning Board member Jeffrey Gray was sentenced 7 to 14 years in state prison for luring a pregnant New York woman to his home and raping her.

Jeffrey Gray, 50, remained stone faced as he was chastised by a judge Wednesday morning in Rockingham County Superior Court for preying upon a vulnerable woman looking for a roommate on Craigslist.

'You portrayed yourself as nothing shy of a Good Samaritan,' Judge Marguerite Wageling said to Gray. 'But instead what you cared about, your goal was to have sex with a pregnant woman.'

Gray engaged in online chats with the Queens, N.Y., woman last year after responding to an advertisement she posted on Craigslist seeking a roommate. She was seven months pregnant at the time and lost the baby afterward due to what prosecutors say was unrelated reasons.

At one point during Wednesday's hearing, Gray could be seen shaking his head as deputy county attorney Tom Reid described the sexual assault.

Reid argued that Gray was out to feed his fetishes of having sex with a pregnant woman and engaging in baby talk, which happened during the assault.

Gray testified during his trial in June that he had consensual sex with the woman. But Gray acknowledged during his testimony that he was attracted to pregnant women.

A jury found him not guilty on felony kidnapping charges and seven other charges. Gray was convicted on a single count of aggravated felonious sexual assault.

Defense lawyer Tony Naro argued that Gray should only be sentenced for the single conviction and not the allegations of abuse by the victim, who was the key witness in the trial.

Naro argued for a 3- to 7-year prison term with outpatient sexual offender treatment.

Reid asked for the maximum 10- to 20-year sentence allowed under state law.

'He has boundary issues,' Reid said. 'He feels he can operate as he pleases. It's clear there was no agreement for any immediate sexual relationship. This is not a date gone bad. This is a man who sought this woman out through a series of messages and conned her.'

(For more on this story, see Thursday's edition of the N.H. Union Leader.)

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