Man sentenced in sexual abuse

June 16, 1998|By AMY WALLAUER

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Martinsburg man was sentenced to one to five years in prison Monday after pleading no contest to a first-degree sexual abuse charge in an attack on a pregnant Martinsburg woman.

Kenneth Gray, 36, also had been charged with kidnapping and first-degree sexual assault. Both of those charges were dropped Monday.

"We knew we'd probably have some evidentiary problems at trial," said Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely.

According to court records, Gray was living at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg, where he was being treated for substance abuse, around the time of the July 30, 1997, attack.

Martinsburg City Police said the 23-year-old woman, who was four weeks pregnant and on bond on an aggravated robbery charge, was walking in the 500 block of West King Street when a man approached her and they began arguing.

After a verbal confrontation, the woman told police her attacker pulled out a knife, held it to her back and ordered her into an abandoned house in the 400 block of King Street.


While inside, the woman was forced to undress and participate in sexual acts, police said. She escaped by diving through a window, according to police. She went to the home of a friend, who gave her clothes and took her to the 7-Eleven on Winchester Avenue to call police and an ambulance, police said.

The woman required 70 to 80 stitches because of cuts sustained in her escape, Games-Neely said.

Gray has been incarcerated at Eastern Regional Jail since his arrest July 30. He could be released as early as next month if the parole board approves it, Games-Neely said.

When Gray is released, he will need to register with West Virginia State Police as a sex offender and continue to notify police of any address changes for 10 years.

The victim is serving a state prison sentence for aggravated robbery, Games-Neely said.

In a no contest plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but offers no defense.

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