Winterport man accused in 2008 sex assault charged as fugitive

Posted March 01, 2011, at 7:21 p.m.
Nelson Gray
Nelson Gray

WINTERPORT, Maine — A Maine man accused of sexually assaulting a teen in Florida more than two years ago was arrested last week on a charge of being a fugitive from justice.

Nelson C. Gray, 54, of Winterport apparently had been living in Orange County, Fla., and working at a resort there when the alleged sexual battery occurred in June 2008.

The victim, a Winterport woman, told Florida investigators she was 17 years old when Gray raped her. Her family had been staying at an Orlando-area resort where Gray, a family friend, worked.

An investigator assigned to the sex crimes unit of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office traveled to Winterport a year ago to interview the woman.

She told him that Gray raped her while her parents were out sightseeing and that she waited until 2010 to report it because he had moved to Maine and was now living in her mother’s house.

The woman told police that she was scared of “what he was capable of doing after what had already happened in Florida,” according to an incident report from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office that was e-mailed to the BDN on Tuesday.

The woman reported the alleged rape to the Maine State Police, which in turn advised the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

The investigator from Orange County surreptitiously recorded a phone call to Gray in Maine, during which Gray denied ever having sexual relations with the teenager in Florida.

Officer Vance Voyles, the investigator, then talked to other people about alleged sexual situations that arose between Gray and two other teenage girls in 2008 in Florida. According to one mother, he had asked her 16-year-old daughter if she had “ever felt a man’s penis,” along with other personal questions, and told her that she was at an age when she needed to “get some experience sexually before the boys her own age started requesting sexual favors.”

The 16-year-old also reported to her mother that Gray offered to set her up as an escort for older men so that she could make money.

Efforts were made to report that incident to police at the time, the report said, but because the conversations were “vague and indirect,” nothing could be done.

Voyles spoke with another teen, who told him that in the summer of 2008 when she was 14 years old, Gray was looking at her a lot at the resort pool, and then asked her what she would do for money.

“He mentioned that it wouldn’t be bad if she acted as an escort for older men,” the report stated.

With the combined interviews of the three alleged victims, the investigator and Florida State Attorney’s Office found that there was probable cause to charge Gray with one count of sexual battery against the 17-year-old Maine girl. A Florida arrest warrant was issued and Gray was taken into custody in Maine without incident on Feb. 23 by personnel from the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office.

He is being held at Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset, although the warrant from the Orange County, Fla., Sheriff’s Office allows for “full extradition,” according to Chief Deputy Robert Keating of the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office.

Gray will likely make his first appearance in a Maine court before the extradition is completed, Keating said.

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