Gray's jury trial moved to November

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Academic records confirm alleged victims sat in his classroom

By Sarah Bennett

The jury trial of former Central Hardin High School teacher and coach Steven Gray was pushed back one month at a pretrial conference in Hardin Circuit Court.

Gray is charged with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse for engaging in sexual activity with two students, both of whom were under 18 at the time of the alleged events. He was arrested in December, one week after he was fired following an anonymous phone tip to Hardin County Schools.

Last month, the court ordered HCS to provide records pertaining to the alleged victims, and after review, the court found some information to be relevant, according to court documents.

“For example, the class schedule for the academic year during which the offenses occurred along with history of attendance are discoverable,” Judge Kelly Mark Easton wrote.

According to the academic records, both of the alleged victims were students in Gray’s class at some point during the academic year, Easton confirmed in the court document.

With these records made available, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Heather Paynter filed a motion to amend the indictment to narrow one count’s time frame from Sept. 20, 2009, to Feb. 23, 2010, according to court records. This motion was approved.

The indictment previously read the incidents took place between October 2009 and February 2010. At a motion hearing in July, Paynter said one of the alleged victims had sexual intercourse with Gray multiple times during that period but could not recall specific dates.

“She didn’t write down when she had sex with (the defendant) on a calendar,” she said.

According to the amended indictment, counsel on the case are permitted to review academic records containing relevant information and request copies only with the court’s permission.

New defense counsel also was approved. Gray previously was represented by Barry Birdwhistell, but he will now be represented by Ryan McCall and Rob Eggert, who were at Tuesday’s pretrial conference.

The jury trial has been pushed back from Oct. 10 to Nov. 14.

Gray is charged with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse. His former position of authority allows for the sex abuse charges even though the alleged victims were 16 or older.

If convicted, he faces one to five years in prison and enrollment in the Kentucky Sex Offender Program.

Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.