PROVO — An Illinois man accused of having a sexual relationship with a teenager has been ordered to prison.
Eric Ray, 31, was sentenced to one to 15 years in prison for forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony, by 4th District Judge Lynn Davis.
Ray, then a University of Illinois law student, was accused of sparking a relationship with a 15-year-old Utah County girl that began with questions about politics sent via Facebook and text messages and led to the man telling the girl that he loved her and would leave his wife for her, according to the girl.
Ray apparently communicated with the teen for 14 months before he traveled to Utah to meet the girl in March 2010.Comment on this story
The girl testified at a previous hearing that Ray took her back to his hotel room, where he fondled her and asked her to have sex with him. He met her at her school, and on at least two days took her directly to his hotel room in Provo, according to court documents.
The two spent an entire day in the room, which the girl said Ray had decorated with flower petals and candles, and they engaged in sex acts.
When the teenager was later hospitalized with meningitis, her family intercepted several texts sent to the girl's phone from Ray. The girl's father then called police.
A jury convicted Ray on the sex abuse charge in September, but found him not guilty of forcible sodomy and object rape.