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Thomas Bray: How COCC changed after his arrest

Editor’s Note: We are revisiting this story because of new comments on accused rapist Thomas Bray. Read below

By Alyssa Wilder and Kirsteen Wolf
The Broadside

Bend Police arrested Central Oregon Community College Part-Time Instructor Thomas Bray on Feb. 26, 2011 after receiving an accusation that he raped a 23-year-old woman.
Since the incident, COCC has instituted new hiring procedures, according to Ron Paradis, director of College Relations.

Part-time faculty did not previously undergo criminal background checks aside from those hired in the Nursing and Early Childhood Education departments, according to Paradis.

Employees who would potentially handle money or possess master keys were also subject to background checks.

Bray was charged with two counts each of first-degree rape and sodomy in connection with this case, according to a Bend Bulletin article. In August, he pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In October 2011, an unnamed COCC student and former girlfriend of Bray’s filed charges against him for the February incidents.

Bray is charged with two felony counts of first-degree rape, a felony count of assault and a misdemeanor count of strangulation.
Stephen Houze, Bray’s lawyer, filed a Oct. 22 motion to separate these cases.

The new charges pushed Bray’s hearing back. According to the Bend Bulletin, Deschutes County Circuit Court Judge Stephen Tiktin set July 17 as Bray’s new trial date.
The incidents started a “thoughtful discussion” on the hiring practices at COCC, said Paradis.

“We had discussions prior [to the situation], but it was not something we were working toward,” he said, in regard to background check policy.
Bray had been employed by the college for fewer than two months. The staff had to weigh the pros and cons.

The college needs to balance the cost and time associated with the different levels of background checks with a sense of security with the candidate, said Paradis.

The other decision was based on how deep to go with the checks. If the checks are too cursory, he added, nothing shows up, but if they are too deep, the costs are high with little added benefit.

The costs are estimated at $16,000 to 20,000 dollars per year, according to Paradis, amounting to $40 dollars for each background check done on a candidate.

Although the policy was approved in September 2011, according to the COCC website, it wasn’t implemented until November. The hiring done over the past summer was not subject to the new background check procedure.

The checks, however, don’t pull up everything, according to Robert McDilda, COCC’s Campus Public Safety supervisor.
“Background checks just show convictions,” said McDilda.

Pulling court documents cost about four times as much as standard employment background checks, according to McDilda.
Court documents include everything from overdrawn checks to pre-charge protective orders, but without the matter ever having a verdict with due process, an individual’s privacy becomes an issue.

“Legally, there’s not much more we can do,” said McDilda. “We have an innocent-until-proven-guilty mandate in this country.”

It is also unclear whether Bray’s previous restraining order, filed only a few months before in California, would have appeared under COCC’s new background check policy.
“It differs from state to state and also jurisdiction to jurisdiction … There’s no guarantee,” said McDilda.

Despite the legalities and costs involved with the new hiring procedures, McDilda is hopeful that the new policies will help keep students safe.
“It’s certainly a step in the right direction,” said McDilda.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. I was the one who filed the previous restraining order. Tom was hired before it happened and the restraining order was retaliatory to an incident that happened and was very petty. I know Tom and his family VERY VERY well and in NO way possible is he capable in his mind or body to do such hideous acts in which your students have accused him of doing.

    It’s typical for young women to be ‘glammed’ by a british born johns hopkins anesthesiologists and get angry when they do not get what they want out of the relationship. In this case it s most likely financing in my opinion.

    It’s actually quite coincidental that the amount filed to be sued for is equivalent to all his assets and the fact that it was filed a week after the so-called second victim of this poor nice man. First one to file gets a bigger pay check! Hurry up girls!

    I was with this man throughout some of his hardest times of his life before this incident and he is kind, gentle, caring, compassionate and of good nature. He would give anything in the world for his physical health back… the reason why he wasn’t practicing medicine for the 6 years prior.

    When he got this measly teaching job, he was so excited because he finally was getting some structure back in his life.

    The fight between Tom and I is completely irrelevant to this case and his character. And I am going to fight with him every step of the way because he is my best friend.. despite immature arguments. And i guarantee more people from his past will stand by me and his family. Our family.

    I guarantee you can not find one person outside of Bend, OR, who is NOT an ex-girlfriend of Tom’s that will say such things..

    In fact! He dumped the girl before me because she was all about the money and the huge diamond ring. (What most woman think when they here the word ‘physician.’)

    you’re ruining a good mans life. Get the facts and figures right and straight before you do what is ‘popular’ to society… because the truth always comes out.

  2. I absolutely disagree with ‘Biteme. First of all, there is a thing called ‘Innocent until proven guilty’. Our sources are media outlets whose ratings suffer when stories are not dramatic enough. Secondly, like the original poster, I have known Tom since he was a boy. I have had somewhat recent interactions with him in the past few years.

    Out of the years I have known Tom, there has never been any instance that I can recall where he has been anything less than a good nature person. He has displayed moments of compassion for other peoples’ situations that one simply doesn’t see in a character that he is being out to be in the media. If he was anything less than what I am posting here, I would either not say anything at all or reveal his character to be otherwise. But he simply isn’t the guy being portrayed. I know this guy and he isn’t like that. It is a weak argument on my part, but I felt compelled to write something.

    I don’t know specifics on the civil suit nor do I know the alleged victim. I am not going to bash on the alleged victim simply because I have enough faith in the judicial system to determine how one should be judged.

    I believe in Tom’s character, I would trust him with my life and I am proud to know him. Men and women alike, he is good to people. He is genuine and he has never deviated from anything other than being a gentleman.

  3. Too bad he was convicted of all counts against the woman he met on match.com and will spend the rest of his pathetic miserable life in prison when he can experience a hint of what he put that woman through.

  4. Glad he is going to prison where an inmate or two will have some rape fantasies of their own. This guy is a SCUMBAG. You women are dumb for taking up for him. Especially the community college student who continued to “date him” after he chocked her with his bathrobe tie. What a desperate moron. But then again, it is community college, right? How pathetic this guy threw away years of hard work for a sick fantasy, hope you rot in prison prick!!

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