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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Judge moved by testimony from survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of Spokane Valley family law attorney, who will spend six years in prison

UPDATED: Fri., Dec. 17, 2021

Ray Deonier  (Courtesy photo)
Ray Deonier (Courtesy photo)

A Spokane Valley attorney who once ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the state Legislature will spend six years in prison for molesting a girl and for another sexual charge.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno sentenced Ray Deonier Friday.

A jury last month convicted Deonier, 50, of two counts of third-degree child molestation and two second-degree counts of possessing depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. It determined Deonier violated a position of trust with the victim, now 20, to commit his crimes, which was an aggravating factor.

The jury acquitted Deonier of third-degree child rape and first-degree child molestation charges. Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Deric Martin on Friday dismissed one of the two charges of possessing depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct .

“I know that my trauma will never go away,” the victim told the court in a tearful statement Friday. “It will never vanish from my mind. Ray Deonier gave me this trauma to carry, and I was forced to make room for it forever.”

Martin said the standard sentencing range was 41 to 54 months in prison for the molestation counts and 33 to 43 months on the possessing charge.

The maximum sentence for the molestation conviction is five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. For possessing depictions, a defendant could face up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Brooke Foley, Deonier’s attorney, asked for the low-end sentence of 41 months. She said Deonier, a family law attorney, will be disbarred.

Moreno imposed a sentence of five years for the two molestation convictions and six years for the possessing depictions count. The sentences will run concurrently. Deonier will also serve three years of community custody.

The fact Deonier used a position of trust to facilitate the crimes – as the jury determined – and that the investigation found no remorse or responsibility on Deonier’s part guided Moreno’s sentence.

Deonier ran against fellow Republicans Matt Shea and Diana Wilhite for a seat in the Legislature after Lynn Schindler vacated the position in 2008.

Meanwhile, the sexual abuse started early in the victim’s life with inappropriate touching and manifested during her 2015-16 freshman year of high school, prosecutors said.

She reported the sexual abuse to a school resource officer in April 2016 and then called 911 about the abuse a month later, just after her 15th birthday. She said the abuse continued after the first report.

She said she decided to report the abuse when she realized she could not control what Deonier was doing to her.

Detectives investigated the reports, but the case was temporarily classified as inactive in 2016 because photos and videos the victim secretly collected during the abuse were not retrievable with the technology at the time.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office got new technology in May 2019 that allowed them to bypass PIN-protected cellphones and retrieve the evidence.

Deonier was charged soon after.

The evidence included explicit photos of the victim with identifiable body parts of Deonier, according to court documents. The photos and videos were recorded on Deonier’s iPhone and discovered in a vault application that was disguised as a calculator and required a passcode to access, the court documents said.

The victim made multiple voice recordings of Deonier asking her to perform sexual acts, but police were unable to recover the recordings because she said Deonier had reset her phone to factory settings through an app.

Deonier told the sheriff’s office in 2016 that he had wiped the victim’s iPhone on multiple occasions as a punishment for her “bad or disrespectful behavior,” according to court documents.

“The rest of high school was plagued by the unwanted feelings and memories of my sexual abuse,” the victim said Friday.

But, she said she was “miraculously” able to keep moving forward, earning a college degree and becoming a mental health counselor. She said her job allows her to provide the support and encouragement she needed when she was younger.

“It is not the trauma I went through at the hands of Mr. Deonier that got me to the place I’m at today,” she said. “I am the reason behind all of my successes and continued efforts. It was my courage, my strength and my determination that got me to the spot I’m in today.”

But her pain continues.

She said she sees a therapist for post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression caused by Deonier’s actions. She said she wrestles with things like isolation, trust issues and unstable relationships.

“I will always struggle with these things and always question why these things happened to me, why I was unable to live a normal life and why I will have to live with these feelings and memories forever, but I know that those are questions that may never be answered.”

Moreno said she was “astounded” by what the victim has achieved.

“I’m very proud of you as a young person,” she said.

Deonier, who addressed Moreno in a yellow Spokane County inmate jumpsuit, thanked his attorneys and his family who spoke on his behalf Friday.

He said he needs to be involved in his children’s lives and that his parents need him as well.

“I’ve always respected the law and tried to abide by it,” Deonier said.

Liam Deonier, Ray Deonier’s son, asked for Moreno to impose the least amount of prison time possible.

“My dad’s made mistakes,” he said. “However, he’s not the same person that he was five years ago. He got help and became a better person and father to us.”

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