Torres guilty of rape, will serve 11 years for abusing Medford girl
Family members of a 17-year-old sex abuse survivor say they can rest easier knowing the man who preyed upon her for four years will spend more than a decade in prison after he pleaded guilty on Wednesday to felony rape charges.
Laramie Torres, 35, was sentenced to 11 years in prison by Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Tim Barnack after admitting to sexually abusing the victim over several years, beginning when she was 11 and continuing until she was 15.
Several of the victim's and Torres' family members in the courtroom wept as Torres offered his guilty pleas and apologized briefly for "the situations that happened."
Barnack called Torres' apology "not enough" and his behavior "atrocious" and "reprehensible," and praised the victim's courage in coming forward.
"You abused the situation," Barnack told Torres. "You abused her. You stole her innocence. She was supposed to be a child."
Barnack sentenced Torres to 100 months in prison for each guilty plea. However, under the terms of the plea agreement, some of Torres' sentences will run concurrently.
Kelly and Ashley Gray, who have taken the girl into their home in Kansas, helped mobilize a Facebook effort to help catch Torres after he fled the state to escape rape and sodomy charges filed against him in November 2009.
Kelly Gray, who is a family member of the victim, said he was satisfied by the plea deal, which was approved by the victim, he said.
"Hoppe asked her if she would accept the deal and she agreed," Kelly Gray said. "Sure, we would have liked to have gotten more time, but you always run the risk that a trial might result in less time. We are happy with the deal Mr. Hoppe put in place."
The Grays moved to Kansas to pursue jobs and allowed the victim to join them in order to help get her life back together.
"She plans to attend college after she graduates from high school," Ashley Gray said. "We want her to have a normal life and having Laramie in jail will help that. For the next 11 years she will have the freedom to move forward."
The couple dreamed up the Facebook page along with Kelly Gray's father, Dan, to get the word out to friends and family members that Torres and his wife, Carly, had fled to Pennsylvania.
"We had no idea it would take off like it did," Kelly Gray said. "It's taken on a life of its own."
The Facebook page, titled "Help Convict Child Rapist Laramie Torres," has since gained more than 3,200 "friends" and has blossomed into a nationwide network of people searching for abused and missing children, Kelly Gray said.
It led to a tip from a Michigan man who directed police to Pennsylvania, where Laramie Torres was arrested without incident. Torres initially fought extradition, but relented in late March.
Carly and Laramie Torres previously made headlines in 2008 after they engineered a fraudulent scheme in which they sent their children door to door to seek funds for a volleyball camp. They kept the donations for themselves and spent most of the money on drugs.
Ashley Gray wants the Facebook page to continue but hopes its focus will narrow to dealing with cases involving sexually abused children.
"We hope it will continue to catch these sexual predators and get them off the street," she said.
Carly Torres is currently behind bars in Erie, Pa., on seven counts of possession of a controlled substance; she also has warrants for her arrest for crimes committed in Oregon. There is no word on when she could be returned to Jackson County to face the warrant charges.
Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471; or e-mail email@example.com.