A Platte County jury found a Kansas man guilty on Wednesday, July 31 of sexually molesting his 10-year-old cousin at a Platte City motel in February 2015.
Corey Nathaniel Gray, 23, was convicted after a three-day jury trial of statutory sodomy in the first degree and child molestation in the first degree.
“The victim in this case showed incredible courage and strength,” Platte County prosecuting attorney Eric Zahnd said. “This defendant told her not to tell anyone what he had done to her, but she told her twin sister what happened. Her sister then told their mother. Both girls were very brave in coming forward about the abuse.”
After the disclosure, the victim went to Children’s Mercy Hospital for a sexual assault examination, where the victim had physical findings consistent with her disclosure of sexual abuse. Evidentiary samples collected were tested by the Kansas City Police Department Crime Laboratory. Male DNA was detected on one of the samples, but DNA examiners determined the amount found was too small to make a comparison for identification purposes.
Due to the age of the victim, she went to Synergy Services for a child forensic interview. Synergy Services is a local agency that provides specialized services for children who have experienced or witnessed abuse.
While at Synergy, she disclosed the details of the abuse that occurred to a specially trained child forensic examiner. That interview was video recorded and became a critical piece of evidence when played for the jury during trial.
“Although Synergy Services isn’t a law enforcement agency, their expertise with children and the services they provide make them an invaluable partner in the community effort to protect our children from predators,” Zahnd said.
Normally these out of court statements would be hearsay and not admissible at trial. However, Missouri law specifically allows such interviews to be played for the jury when the victim is under the age of 14 when they make the statement, and the statement is deemed reliable after a previous hearing before the judge.
The jury recommended 15 years on the count of statutory sodomy in the first degree and 5 years on the count of child molestation in the first degree. Gray is scheduled to appear before judge James VanAmburg on Oct. 10 for sentencing.
The case was investigated by the Platte City Police Department and the Kansas City Police Department. It was prosecuted by assistant prosecuting attorney Kaitlynn Donnelly and first assistant prosecuting attorney Mark Gibson.