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Judge, not jury, to hear Bray rape trial

By Matt McDonald
Published On: Jul 13 2012 11:48:29 AM CDT
Updated On: Jul 13 2012 07:45:17 PM CDT
Thomas Bray in court

Thomas Bray, arrested in late February 2011 on rape, other charges

BEND, Ore. -

Former Central Oregon Community College anatomy instructor Thomas Bray will go on trial Tuesday on charges he raped two women last year – but a judge, not a jury will decide his fate.

Deschutes County Circuit Judge Stephen Tiktin signed Bray’s previously requested waiver of a jury trial at a Friday motions hearing, and the judge will begin hearing arguments in the case on Monday.

District Attorney Patrick Flaherty had filed a motion asking that a video that allegedly shows Thomas Bray striking a woman be provided to prosecutors. 

The defense allegedly got the video from one of Bray's ex-girlfriends.  Tiktin rejected the prosecution's motion, citing Oregon case law. He said the defense does not have to give it to the DAs office unless the defense itself plans on using the video in court.

Bray, 38, is charged with 11 felony and misdemeanor counts in the two alleged incidents in February of last year. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Bray and his Portland defense attorney, Stephen Houze, were not in court Friday and took part in the motion proceedings by phone. Before signing the jury trial waiver, Tiktin asked Bray and his defense if they were aware that Tiktin's son works for the Bend Police Department. They said they were.

Bray was arrested early last year after a woman he met on Match.com accused him of assaulting her at his downtown Bend apartment after they went out for a drink. The 23-year-old women told police Bray repeatedly struck and raped her over a three-hour period, at one point choking her until she lost consciousness.

Prosecutors filed more charges several months later, involving a second woman – a 21-year-old student who briefly dated Bray and claimed he had strangled and raped her while the two were dating early last year.

Houze filed numerous pre-trial motions, including ones arguing he should be allowed to present evidence of the past sexual behavior of one of Bray’s accusers at trial. Houze said evidence involving the 21-year-old, identified as SJ, describe a consensual sexual relationship between the two.

House also requested that a defense team investigator – subpoenaed by prosecutors to appear as a witness – be allowed to remain in the courtroom during the trial, to assist in Bray’s defense.

A 90-minute motions hearing is scheduled Monday morning before Tiktin, on the eve of the trial's start.

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