Prosecutor argues against lower bond for Warrensburg man charged with child porn possession

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WARRENSBURG, Mo. -- Andrew J. Ray, 52, appeared in Johnson County, Mo. court on Wednesday, where his attorney argued he was not a danger and asked that his bond be reduced.

Ray, who recently worked as a substitute elementary school teacher, was charged last week with 25 counts of child porn possession.

Police say they found 207 video files of child porn on his computer when they served a search warrant on his Warrensburg home on October 31.

During Wednesday's 1:30 p.m. court appearance, Ray hobbled into the courtroom and his attorney explained he had recently fallen off his roof and shattered his leg.

Ray's condition, his attorney argued, would make him less of a flight risk, and he asked the judge to lower Ray's bond. Phillip Gibson, Ray's attorney, argued that Ray wasn't a danger and said Ray's family didn't need the additional financial burden.

His family was in court for the hearing.

Prosecutor Lynn Stoppy offered a different opinion to the judge on the amount of bond.

She told the judge that while out on bond, Ray attended a Christmas Eve church service where children were present.

"He had been a member of that church. He knew family with children would be there and he consciously made the decision to go," Stoppy said.

After both sides argued their points, the judge split the difference and reduced Ray's bond from $250,000 to $200,000, but agreed that the conditions of his bond had been violated and reminded Ray he was not to be in the vicinity of children.

"While a church service is a wonderful thing to attend, under the bond conditions, I think there is a problem because that means there are children in the parking lot, children in the hallways," the judge said. "You are really taking a risk with your bond."

Police say Ray was first identified by the Missouri State Highway Patrol Cyber Crimes Division after his computer address was flagged for downloads from child porn sites. At the time of his arrest, Andrew Ray was read his Miranda rights to inform him of his right to remain silent. Police say even so, he admitted to downloading the videos using file-sharing software and watching the movies for approximately 30 minutes each night after his wife went to bed.

Some of the names police say Ray gave the files included:

  • Vicky willing ped rape pthc 11 yo.mpg
  • 12yo Lolita After Shower.mpg
  • Babysitter And Girl 8Yo Having Sex with Older Sister....mpg

Other files discovered by police were given names more vulgar than these. The videos were various lengths, ranging from 22 seconds to three hours.

"Time and time again I hear, 'Well, it was just possession. It's not like he touched anybody. It's not like he actually had sexual intercourse," said Stoppy. "Every time one of these videos is viewed, images are viewed. The child in that image is victimized again. To say it is a victim-less crime is outrageous."

When asked why she wasn't charging Ray with 207 counts of possession for all the files discovered on the computer, Stoppy explained that it wasn't necessary.

"So knowing full-well that we are going to have to show 25 clips of child porn, that's enough. We don't need to show them 200. I think if we show 25, it will get the point across," she said.

Ray was arrested while working as a substitute teacher at Holden Elementary School. Holden is about 50 miles southeast of Kansas City, located between Warrensburg and Pleasant Hill.

Holden School Superintendent Wade Schroeder says Ray's arrest was discreet, and wasn't done in front of children. He says Ray was never alone with any student while working for the district. The school district superintendent said Ray passed the state background checks they conducted and said Ray had only substituted for the district three times.

Ray has no prior convictions.

Police say during their search they found Ray's resume on his desk. It listed numerous employers in elementary education and claimed he had a Missouri certification to teach grades one through six.

Ray's next court appearance was set for March 26.

Earlier story:

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3 comments

  • Melinda Grotjan

    Mr. Ray was my son’s student teacher at Knob Noster Elementary school for several months. I didn’t even realize it was the same man until my son saw his picture in the paper and asked why he was on the front page. He didn’t get along with Mr. Ray when he was the student teacher and I told him he didn’t have to like him but he had to respect him. I guess in the future I will trust my son’s instinct. I feel horrible now.

    • Joe

      Do you actually mean “substitute” teacher? Why are you feeling horrible? He didn’t harm your child hopefully, and thus far, we have no evidence that he has harmed any child he taught. Everybody wants to be a victim!

  • Joe

    The man should be allowed to attend church. He isn’t a priest so he would not have the same access to the kids, especially since you can be sure all the parents know about what he did. Of course, we need to make sure the kids are safe but people don’t need to become all crazy. If you and your family sat next to the man, put the children between the parents. I cannot imagine what he could possibly do to a child in the hallway. I am not condoning what he has done but he shouldn’t be penalized for things he never did until we know for sure.