EL DORADO, Arkansas – Joe D. Wray, former chief deputy prosecuting attorney for the 13th Judicial District, faces felony charges of third-degree sexual assault and misdemeanor counts of public sexual indecency involving women who were defendants in Union County Circuit Court, authorities said Tuesday.
Wray, who resigned in February, arrived at the sheriff’s office late Tuesday afternoon, where he posted a $25,000 bond and was released, Union County Sheriff Ken Jones said.
Evidence and testimony collected during an eight-month investigation supported the women’s allegations that Wray promised them lighter sentences or no jail time in exchange for sexual favors, said 6th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley of Pulaski County.
Circuit Judge Hamilton H. Singleton appointed Jegley as special prosecutor to investigate the charges against Wray at the request of Prosecuting Attorney Jamie Pratt, Wray’s former supervisor. “The allegations are essentially that Mr. Wray came into contact with these victims as a result of his position of authority and trust as chief deputy prosecuting attorney,” Jegley said.
Wray’s attorney, Robert Depper, said: “He is innocent of the allegations. He will be vindicated in court and has been nothing but a professional attorney and prosecutor, and has been a great public servant for Union County.”
State law forbids sexual activity by a person in a position of trust or who uses a position of authority to engage in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity.
Wray resigned as chief deputy prosecutor, a position he held since 1999, shortly before allegations of criminal misconduct surfaced. His letter of resignation to Pratt consisted of two sentences: “I resign effective immediately. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause the office.”
The 13th Judicial District encompasses Calhoun, Cleveland, Columbia, Dallas, Ouachita and Union counties in south Arkansas.