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More Martial Molestation?
Jury trial begins for kung fu expert
By:Carl Hamilton , firstname.lastname@example.org 12/02/2003
Brian Wayne Gray routinely sexually abused two students in his now-defunct kung fu school in Elkton about 20 years ago, and he used threats to keep them silent.
That's what prosecutors told jurors Monday as a criminal trial for Gray, 52, of Perryville, began in Cecil County Circuit Court.The defense, meanwhile, maintained that the two alleged victims -- now men -- concocted stories of sexual child abuse in an effort to blackmail Gray.
Gray is charged with multiple counts of child abuse, second-degree sex offense, third-degree sex offense and unnatural and perverted sex practice.A Cecil County grand jury handed up an 18-count indictment against Gray last May at the conclusion of a Maryland State Police investigation.
In his opening statement Monday, Assistant State's Attorney Keith A. Baynes noted that Gray is a homosexual, but stressed that the state's case wouldn't focus on his sexual preference in general."It (the case) has to do with predator nature of Mr. Gray," Baynes said.
Gray held a position of authority, partly because he was the students' martial arts instructor, partly because of his high national ranking as a master kung fu competitor, according to the state.He told his victims that they would be arrested, as well as him, if they told their parents, police or anyone else about the sexual acts Gray routinely performed on them, the state reported.
One of the alleged victims, now 32, testified Monday that he was "too ashamed" to come forward as a child and young man. (He notified police last March, wanting to gain "closure" and wanting to protect other children from Gray, he said.)
Noting that he had enthusiastically asked his mother to enroll him in the kung fu class , the alleged victim didn't quit because he didn't want his mother to think something was wrong, he explained.According to that alleged victim, Gray abused him in the studio's dressing room on the first night that he attended class in January 1984, a few days after his 13th birthday.
Baynes told jurors that the state wouldn't produce videos, photographs or other physical evidence because the offenses happened so long ago."The evidence will be the testimony of these young victims ... Their testimony is the key,'' Baynes said, noting it "took a lot of courage" for them to come forward.
Defense lawyer Harry D. Barnes III of Elkton, meanwhile, maintained that the two alleged victims conspired to extort $30,000 from Gray, basing their allegations on his sexual preference.(State testimony Monday indicated that the two alleged victims hadn't had any contact with each other for approximately 15 years.)
"Just because a man's gay doesn't mean he's a pedophile," Barnes told the jurors.
Barnes also told the jurors that Gray would testify in his own defense this week, although, as a criminal defendant, he has a right to remain silent."Brian is going to testify. He wants to tell his side of the story," Barnes said.The trial is scheduled to last three days.
©Cecil Whig 2003