by Ivan Foley
The owner of JRay’s Restaurant and Bar in Platte City stands accused of possessing child pornography on his computers.
Jeremy B. Ray, 35, is charged in Clay County with the Class B felony of possession of child porn, which is punishable by a prison term of 5-15 years.
Ray, a resident of Kansas City in Clay County, has entered a plea of not guilty to the charge, according to court records. The next court hearing in the case is scheduled for Sept. 5 at 1:30 p.m. in front of Clay County Circuit Court Judge Janet Sutton.
JRay’s Restaurant and Bar is located in a strip mall on Platte Falls Road. In February, JRay's was announced as the 2012 Platte City Business of the Year.
Authorities allege they found 113 image files and 179 video files containing suspected child pornography on his computers after executing a search warrant at Ray’s place of residence in the 100 block of NE 83rd St., Kansas City.
A warrant was issued for Ray’s arrest on June 19. Court records indicate Ray’s attorney, Gregory James Abella, filed an entry of appearance on June 25. On June 27 the warrant was served to Ray and he posted a surety bond of $15,000.
In a hearing on July 1, Ray waived a reading of information and entered a plea of not guilty.
The statement of probable cause, filed by a detective with the Platte County Sheriff’s Department who serves on the Western Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force, outlines an online undercover investigation that began in December and continued at various times from Jan. 20 through March 20. During that time, a computer with an IP address that authorities say they tracked to Ray was allegedly observed online in possession of child pornography on a publicly available peer-to-peer file sharing network.
The subscriber with the IP address was learned through an investigative subpoena served to AT&T Internet Services. The subscriber address was the residence in the 100 block of NE 83rd St., though the subscription was not in Ray’s name.
The search warrant was served at the home on March 25. Court papers allege that after being read his Miranda rights, Ray was asked if there would be child pornography on his computer. According to court papers, Ray replied “Possibly.”
Two computers were seized and submitted for a forensic analysis. Authorities allege the child porn image files were found on a desktop computer and child porn video files were allegedly found on both computers.
In announcing the award as Business of the Year, the Platte City Chamber of Commerce listed Jeremy Ray and Emily Petermann as co-owners of the JRay's.
A search of court records indicates multiple occasions in which the Missouri Division of Employment Security has taken legal steps against Ray in regard to collecting Missouri unemployment tax payments. Actions of that kind took place twice in 2011, once in 2012 and once thus far in 2013.