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Alabama Teacher, Melissa Gray, To Plead Guilty To Drugging Children For Child Pornography Purposes

Posted on: October 9, 2009

  • In: Sociopaths
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Alabama Teacher, Melissa Gray, To Plead Guilty To Drugging Children For Child Pornography Purposes

September 17th 2009

MOBILE, Alabama — A Chickasaw woman accused of drugging two children as a prelude to a planned sexual encounter with a man she met online will plead guilty to child pornography charges, according to documents filed in court by her attorney.

Melissa B. Gray (pictured left) will enter a so-called “blind plea” to possession and distribution of child pornography charges, meaning that she will get no promise of a lenient sentencing recommendation from federal prosecutors in Mobile. U.S. Magistrate Judge Katherine “Kit” Nelson scheduled a Sept. 23 change of plea hearing.

Gray, a 30-year-old former schoolteacher, faces a mandatory-minimum sentence of five years in prison. A worst-case scenario of her punishment under advisory sentencing guidelines shows she could get more than 12½ years. U.S. District Judge Kristi DuBose will make the final decision.

Defense attorney Neil Hanley noted that federal judges have more discretion than they did before a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that made the sentencing guidelines advisory. He said he plans to present testimony about a psychological disorder that Gray suffers from.

“You have much more to work with now. The guidelines aren’t mandatory,” he said. “We’ll be relying on her history of mental illness.”

According to an affidavit filed in January by an agent from the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, a Milton, Fla., man named Jonathan Daniel Bervig met Gray over the Internet and began swapping child pornography with her.

State charges remain pending against Bervig in Florida.

The affidavit states that Bervig told investigators in January that he arranged to drive to Gray’s house to have sex with a young relative of hers and another child, both of whom would be drugged so as not to resist.

But when Bervig arrived, the children were still awake and alert, so he left.

An undercover investigator posing as Bervig later sent instant messages to Gray, who tried again to set up a sexual liaison, according to authorities. Law enforcement officers went to Gray’s home on Jan. 6 and found a prescription for Percocet, a painkiller that can cause drowsiness and confusion.

Officers tried unsuccessfully to awaken a 7-year-old boy at the home before taking him to a hospital. Law enforcement officials found a computer with dozens of images of child pornography, as well as incest stories involving young boys, according to investigators.

The criminal charges against Gray focused exclusively on the child pornography and did not include the drugging allegations.

Hanley tried unsuccessfully to have Gray declared mentally unfit for trial, but the medical staff at the Bureau of Prisons evaluated her and found her fit competent as long as she took psychotropic drugs.

http://blog.al.com/live/2009/09/drugging_children_sex_teacher_porn_charge.htm

To Catch A Female Predator: Alabama Teacher, Melissa Gray, To Plead Guilty To Drugging Children For Child Pornography Purposes.

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