Trial begins for Lufkin man accused of molesting girl, 13

Andrew Ray mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.
Andrew Ray mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.
Alleged victim's father, Jim.
Alleged victim's father, Jim.

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Editor's note: The following story contains graphic sexual language.

By Jena Johnson - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A teenage girl told jurors of a dark secret once only known to close friends. Her father, Jim, sits heartbroken listening to his 14-year-old daughter remember alleged sexual abuse.

"I mean it's been a terrible experience," Jim said. "She's very brave being willing to come forward and tell this story over and over again."

For Jane Doe, it's a story of broken trust. She testified that Andrew Ray, the same man who helped her soccer skills, repeatedly molested her.

"The anger that I feel toward the assailant here is it's hard to put into words," Jim said.

For Jim, it gets worse. The secret his daughter kept hidden for so long was eventually leaked to the one person she tried to hide it from -- her mother. Jane testified she feared her mother would disown her. Her father says she did -- she kicked Jane out.

"I have an ex that should have protected our children and chose not to," Jim said.

The defense says there's another side to this story -- one that explains the mother's response to these serious allegations. While the jurors wait to hear that side, Jim says he stands beside his daughter.

"I'm so proud of my daughter for being able to come forward and describe what's going on and hopefully hope protect other girls and other children from predators like this," Jim said.

Editor's note: Jena Johnson reported live updates on Monday's testimony. The following is her account.

The trial of a Lufkin man accused of molesting a 13-year-old girl began Monday with a friend of the alleged victim taking the stand.

Prosecuting Attorney Tony Latino called the alleged victim's friend, a 15-year-old girl, to the witness stand. She testified she went to the alleged victim's home often and would stay the night, as teenage girls typically do.

The 15-year-old girl testified that in Feb. 2009, her friend had confided in her.

"She told me that he was touching her, but she never told me what he was doing to her," she said.

The 15-year-old girl testified she and her mother had told the alleged victim's mother of the sexual allegations on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2009.

The following day, the alleged victim's mother drove her daughter and the 15-year-old girl to school, as usual. The 15-year-old girl said the alleged victim's mother became very upset with her during the car ride to school and slapped her.

"Jane Doe kept telling her mother she wasn't lying about any of it and she was telling the truth," the girl testified.

She testified her friend's mother did not believe her and continued to tell her daughter she was a liar.

Defense Attorney Al Charanza questioned the 15-year-old girl about her friendship with the alleged victim.

"She was like a sister to me," she said. "We would tell each other everything."

She said they had been best friends since the first grade.

"She never wanted to talk about it," said the alleged victim's friend.

The girl testified the alleged victim told a few other friends about the sexual abuse. Latino pointed out the alleged victim never confided in an adult because she was scared her mother would disown her.

"Jane Doe's mother was so upset when she found out what happened she slapped her daughter over the head and took her to her grandparents to live," said Latino.

In the spring of 2008, a 14-year-old classmate testified he had read a note the alleged victim had passed to a friend during class.

"She was writing notes to a friend. She showed me the note. I read it. It said he molested her," said the 14-year-old boy.

He testified she told him not to tell anyone.

"She didn't want her mom to get mad at her," he testified.

The alleged victim, now 14, was called to the stand. She testified her mother was not present in the courtroom.

She testified she told a few friends about the alleged sexual abuse.

"I told her that he was touching me in my bikini area," she said.

The girl testified she told her friends not to tell anyone because she feared her mother's reactions.

"I had just turned 12 when he started touching me," she said.

"He would walk in and place his hand on my chest and place his other hand on top of my bikini area and point to it and ask if he could have a kiss right there and I would say no," she said.

Latino asked if this happened more than once. She described it as "routine."

"He would come in, pull down my pants and kiss me down there," she said.

Latino directed the alleged victim's attention to Feb. 27, 2009.

"When I told my mom about it she started crying and just got angrier and angrier," she said.

"She she just kept on saying that I was lying," she testified.

She testified she wanted to keep it a secret.

Latino revisited the fact that the victim never came forward to an adult with the sexual allegations -- only confiding in her close friends.

"I told my friends because I felt alone," she said.

During the defense's cross-examination, the girl said her alleged molester was also her soccer coach since age 10.

Charanza questioned Jane Doe's honesty by pointing out on her Myspace page her age is listed as 16.

"I don't want people to know my real age," she said.

In the defense's opening argument, Charanza told the jurors they've only heard the state's case and not the whole story.

Charanza listed more than a dozen witnesses he plans to call to the stand.

"There's a whole other side of the story," said Charanza. "What she explains to her daughter in the car is that these are very serious allegations she is making."

"You'll hear from the mother and find out what led up to her slapping her daughter," he said.

"Lastly, I'll call Andrew Ray and let him speak for himself," said Charanza.
John Ray, brother of Andrew, was the first witness called to the stand. John Ray is a licensed peace officer who works as the Executive Chief Deputy in the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office in Fort Worth.
John Ray recalled the first time he heard his brother was in trouble, facing serious accusations. John Ray said he received a phone call, followed by a text message that read: "help" from his brother.
"His first concern was about Jane Doe," said John Ray. "He said she accused him of some terrible things."
He testified he would occasionally talk to his brother about the allegations.
"How the story was evolving, the growth of the case," Ray testified.
Ironically, during the course of John Ray's career in law enforcement, he said he spent a number of years investigating child sex crimes.
Generally speaking, Latino asked John Ray why children who have experienced sexual abuse don't come forward.
"Fear," said John Ray.
Michael Ray, who had a relationship with the suspect, who is his father, and the girl, testified through a video deposition, and said he never heard the girl complain about being molested by Andrew Ray.
Michael Ray said he once accidentally touched the girl with his penis while wrestling with her, and she immediately reported it her neighbors who told his parents, who talked to him about the severity of what he did and to make sure it did not happen again.
Michael Ray said he was surprised by the allegations made from the girl to his father.

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