The Spokane Valley attorney, who was running for office, was convicted of child molestation, acquitted of rape and related charges
A jury convicted a Spokane Valley attorney who once unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the state legislature for molesting a girl and a related charge, but acquitted him last week of child rape and a molestation case.
Ray Deonier, 50, has been convicted of two third-degree child molestation cases and two cases of possession of images of a minor engaged in sexually explicit behavior. The jury found that the defendant was exploiting or violating a position of trust with the victim to commit his crimes, which was an aggravating factor.
“With all of these allegations, there is a specific allegation that Mr. Deonier held a position of trust in (the victim’s) life and he abused it,” said Deric Martin, an assistant prosecutor with the Spokane County Attorney’s Office.
Deonier was acquitted on three counts of third-degree child rape and first-degree child abuse.
Deonier faces up to 10 years in prison and a US $ 20,000 fine for the two cases of possession of images of a minor involved in explicit sexual behavior, a class B crime. Child molestation conviction is a Class C crime that can be punished with up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $ 10,000. The capital crime convictions are also a reason for Deonier to be expelled.
Deonier, a family law attorney, ran for a seat on the Legislature against Republicans Matt Shea and Diana Wilhite after Lynn Schindler vacated the position in 2008.
The sexual abuse began with inappropriate touch early in the victim’s life and manifested itself during her 2015-2016 junior year of high school, prosecutors said.
Martin said the victim had oral sex with Deonier at least twice and that he raped her twice.
The victim, now 20, said Deonier told her at the apartment that she should be fine for him to touch her and that it was normal.
She said Deonier told her “accept us” and “let me love you”. She said he told her they should be in a relationship.
The victim cried several times on the stand, sometimes reaching for handkerchiefs, but could speak clearly.
“It’s really hard to talk about,” she said.
She reported the sexual abuse to a school clerk in April 2016 and then called 911 a month later, shortly after her 15th birthday. She said the abuse continued after the first complaint.
She said she decided to report the abuse when she realized she had no control over what Deonier was doing to her.
“I tried to save myself,” she said.
Detectives investigated the reports, but the case was temporarily deemed inactive in 2016 because photos and videos secretly collected by the victim during the abuse were not accessible using the technology at the time.
The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office received new technology in May 2019 that allowed them to bypass PIN-protected cell phones and retrieve the evidence.
“It was so shocking,” said the victim in court. “I didn’t think that day would come.”
Deonier was charged shortly thereafter.
The evidence, according to court documents, included explicit photos of the victim with identifiable parts of Deonier’s body. The photos and videos were taken on Deonier’s iPhone and discovered in a vault application disguised as a calculator that required an access code, the court documents say.
The victim made several voice recordings of Deonier asking for sexual acts, but police were unable to restore the recordings as they said Deonier had factory reset her phone through an app.
Deonier told the sheriff’s office in 2016 that he erased the victim’s iPhone multiple times as punishment for her “bad or disrespectful behavior,” according to court documents.
In her opening speech, Brooke Foley, Deonier’s attorney, told the jury that Martin selected facts that matched the prosecutor’s goals.
“These are the facts that are looked at with the most negative lenses,” said Foley.
“We believe that if you listen carefully, and consider the testimony and evidence presented to you, the only real conclusion you can draw is that this is a difficult time and a tragic year in a family’s life who fight … on so many different levels, “said Foley.
Ultimately, on Friday, the jury found Deonier guilty of four counts. He was admitted to the Spokane County Jail shortly after the sentencing was announced and will remain there until his sentencing, which was not due Tuesday.
Reporter Emma Epperly contributed to this story.