April 24, 2014

Medina
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Ray trial: Judge to decide rape case of Florida man

MEDINA — The bench trial of a 20-year-old Florida man accused of raping two teenage girls was handed over to the judge Wednesday.

Ivan L. Ray IV chose to be tried by a judge rather than a jury.

Medina County Common Pleas Judge Christopher J. Collier said he hoped to issue a verdict in the coming week in the case, Ray is charged with two counts of forcible rape, first-degree felonies. If convicted, he could face more than 20 years in prison.

Defense attorney Kristopher Aupperle, right, delivers his closing arguments Wednesday in the bench trial of his client, Ivan L. Ray IV, center. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY NICK GLUNT)

Ray was charged after high school students — now ages 19 and 17 — went to police in September 2012 when they were 17 and 15 years old.

During closing arguments Wednesday, defense attorney Kristopher Aupperle said a conviction against Ray relied solely on the testimony of the teenagers.

“The difficulty with this case is that there’s no physical evidence,” Aupperle told the judge. “It’s a matter of credibility.”

The teens said they met Ray, a former wrestler, on Facebook and were invited over when no one else was home.

They testified that both assaults — which they said happened in the same month — began with a movie and ended with Ray forcing himself on them.

Aupperle stressed that the teenagers did not immediately go to police. Instead, they kept in contact with Ray and one of them invited him over for dinner with her family.

He also pointed to inconsistencies between their court testimony and statements they gave to police more than a year ago.

County Assistant Prosecutor Scott Salisbury said the inconsistencies were to be expected given their ages.

“They’re kids. They’re not trained like lawyers and judges and police to remember details,” he said. “It would almost be shocking if they did remember those details, but then we’d be hearing suspicion because they have such good memories.”

Salisbury said their ages also explained their keeping in contact with Ray after the assaults.

“In some sick way and twisted way, she wanted him to stay in her life,” Salisbury said of the older teen. “Teenagers do stupid things. It’s so easy for adults to say, ‘What are you doing? Why’d they do that?’ ”

Salisbury pointed out that Aupperle never addressed the issue of whether Ray had sex with the teens.

“You haven’t heard these were consensual encounters and you haven’t heard they just didn’t happen,” Salisbury said.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.