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New charges filed against Buellton man accused of child sex crimes in Santa Ynez Valley

New charges filed against Buellton man accused of child sex crimes in Santa Ynez Valley

Five additional felony and three new misdemeanor charges have been filed against the Buellton man accused of sexually abusing three teenage boys from the Santa Ynez Valley, according to court records.

Gregory Scott Ray, 52, pleaded not guilty to the new charges, introduced by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office, during an appearance Thursday in Santa Maria Superior Court. The new charges range from misdemeanor sexual battery to sodomy of a minor. Ray now faces a combination of 21 felony and misdemeanor charges stemming from what prosecutors contend to be instances of sexual abuse dating as far back as October 2007.

At least eight alleged male victims — five more than when charges were first filed April 11 — have been named in the amended complaint, according to court records. Identified only as John Doe 1 through 8, the boys were between the ages of 13 and 17 when the acts reportedly occurred.

Ray, who is currently being held in Santa Barbara County Jail on $275,000 bail, will appear before Judge John McGregor on Thursday for a third bail review hearing. His bail has been substantially reduced twice before, down from $1.2 million to its current amount.

The Buellton man accused of sexually abusing three teenage boys from the Santa Ynez Valley had his bail substantially reduced Monday, down to $275,000 from $1 million. Santa Maria Superior Court Judge McGregor said bail for Gregory Scott Ray was originally set at $1.2 million so the court could later review the serial nature of Ray's abuse allegations, his employment and access to minors, as well as the potential for additional alleged victims to come forward.

Though information relating to the new charges has yet to be introduced, court records previously filed by prosecutors suggest the contact occurred while Ray worked as a print sales consultant for Canadian yearbook publishing company Friesens LLC. 

Ray allegedly met three juvenile male students from the Santa Ynez Valley between August 2014 and November 2018 using the Grindr dating app. Two of the boys claim the alleged sexual encounters were mutual, while one of the children, who met Ray at age 14, claimed he felt "uncomfortable" and did not reciprocate Ray's advances during a previous interaction.

Investigators have identified additional victims in the case against a 52-year-old Buellton man suspected of engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct with juveniles, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office. Gregory Scott Ray was arrested April 9 on suspicion of sex crimes against three male students from the Santa Ynez Valley, ranging in age from 13 to 17. The additional victims include some who are local and others who reside outside the Santa Barbara County area, according to sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

Deputy Public Defender Lea Villegas, who is representing Ray, previously called the million-dollar bail "excessive" and akin to a no-bail hold and sought to have Ray released on his own recognizance, or to have bail reduced to $30,000 — an amount she believed was sufficient to ensure his attendance at future hearings.

Reach reporter Mathew Burciaga at 805-739-2205 or Follow him on Twitter @mathewburciaga


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Education Reporter

Mathew Burciaga is a Santa Maria Times reporter who covers education, agriculture and public safety. Prior to joining the Times, Mathew ran a 114-year-old community newspaper in Wyoming. He owns more than 40 pairs of crazy socks from across the globe.

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