Local man convicted on charges of molestation

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 13, 2000

On Friday, more than five years after a 9-year-old girl was molested at her grandmother’s Vicksburg home, her attacker was convicted in Warren County Circuit Court.

It took a jury of seven women and five men 2 1/2 hours to find Raymond Friley, 33, 101 Allendale Drive, guilty of molestation.

“Everyone said we couldn’t do it, and we did it,” the victim, now 14, said after the verdict was read.

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During the three-day trial, which started Wednesday, Friley was arrested on perjury charges, and Thursday night he checked himself into a local hospital claiming a mental breakdown.

On Wednesday, the teen-age victim took the stand and talked about the day in 1995 when Friley abused her.

She said she had seen Friley before at her grandmother’s house when he was working for a pool cleaning company.

“Whenever he would be there cleaning the pool he made me uncomfortable,” she said.

Fighting back tears, the teen-ager told the jury that on July 31, 1995, when Friley was there to clean the pool, she went into the pool house and pretended to take a shower.

“I just ran some water hoping that by the time I came out he would be gone,” she said.

Instead, she said, she looked up and saw Friley standing in the room with her holding an inflatable raft.

“He told me to put my face into the raft to see if I could breathe,” she said.

She said Friley then placed a plastic bag over her face and asked again, “Can you breathe?”

The teen told the court that Friley then placed his hand in her swimsuit bottom and molested her.

She said she did not tell anyone about the abuse because she feared retribution from Friley. Only after talking with some friends at school last year did she face what had happened to her, she said Wednesday.

In his testimony Thursday, Friley denied the allegations.

“I never touched her except to shake her hand and say hello,” he said.

Throughout his testimony Thursday, Friley continued to deny working for Yelverton Pool Service in 1995, even after Assistant District Attorney John Bullard confronted him with a tax form and dozens of endorsed payroll checks showing he was employed by the pool service that year.

“That is not my signature on the back of those checks,” Friley said. “Someone just made it look like mine.”

He said he had no knowledge of the W-2 tax form that showed how much he earned in 1995.

“This isn’t mine, and I have never even seen it,” Friley said.

After his testimony Thursday, Friley was arrested and charged with two counts of perjury. After being released from the Warren County Jail on those charges, Friley went to Vicksburg Medical Center and claimed he was suffering a mental collapse.

On Friday, court was delayed until 3 p.m., when it was determined Friley was mentally fit to continue the trial.

Warren County Circuit Judge Isadore Patrick set sentencing for Dec. 1. Friley is facing a maximum sentence of 15 years on the molestation charges.