Investigators have identified additional victims in the case against a 52-year-old Buellton man charged with 13 felony counts of child sexual abuse stemming from alleged sex crimes against three Santa Ynez Valley teenagers.
Gregory Scott Ray was arrested April 9, when Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies served a search warrant at his residence.
During his April 12 appearance before Judge Gustavo Lavayen in Santa Maria Superior Court, Ray pleaded not guilty to all counts, including lewd and lascivious acts, sodomy, oral copulation and sexual penetration with a foreign object.
Several charges allege Ray used force when committing the crimes.
According to the criminal complaint, Ray engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with three separate juvenile male students from the Santa Ynez Valley — ranging in ages from 13 to 17 — between August 2014 and November 2018. A criminal protective order has been issued for the three victims, who are now 16, 17 and 18 years old.
The new victims include some who are local and others who reside outside the Santa Barbara County area, spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said. Sheriff's officials believe that, given Ray's occupation, there still may be more victims outside the county.
Depending on the claims of the alleged victims, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office may choose to file additional charges.
Ray worked as a print sales consultant for Canadian yearbook publishing company Friesens LLC, covering schools between San Jose and Los Angeles County. He is believed to have consulted on yearbooks at various schools, and he may have attended yearbook camps or conferences across the region.
As of Monday, his name and biography had been removed from the company website.
Sheriff's investigators opened an investigation into the alleged abuse in mid-March, after Santa Ynez Valley High School reported incidents of inappropriate sexual contact between Ray and a student. According to the report, a teacher overheard a conversation and reported it to school administrators.
Investigators believe Ray was using an unidentified social media app to meet and have sexual contact with young males. Introductions reportedly occurred through the app, with Ray reaching out to victims multiple times throughout the course of several years.
No contact is believed to have occurred on the Santa Ynez Valley High School campus, Hoover said.
Ray will return to Santa Maria Superior Court on April 25 to set a preliminary hearing.
Anyone who has been a victim or individuals who believe they know someone who has been victimized are urged to contact the Sheriff's Criminal Investigation’s Division at 805-681-4150. Individuals also can leave an anonymous tip by calling 805-681-4171 or online at www.sbsheriff.org/home/anonymous-tip.