SALEM — A Massachusetts man is being held on $50,000 cash bail for allegedly trying to extort a gay lover from Salem whom he met through Craigslist.
William Gray, 48, of Springfield was arraigned yesterday afternoon in 10th Circuit Court after Salem police traveled to Springfield to arrest him earlier in the day.
Gray faces a felony charge of theft by attempted extortion after he demanded money and threatened to tell the unidentified Salem man’s wife about their relationship, according to prosecutor Jason Grosky.
The victim told Salem police in April that he met Gray through the Internet and the two agreed to have sex at Gray’s apartment.
After their sexual encounter, Gray told the man he would tell his wife about the affair unless the victim agreed to pay for $3,000 for furniture he had on hold at a store. Gray also recited the man’s address and names of his wife and daughter — information the victim never gave him.
The Salem man paid for the furniture. Several days later, Gray called the man and asked that he place $2,400 on a reloadable prepaid credit card, the victim told police.
Gray told him he had just driven by his house and that if he did not buy him the credit card, he would stop by his house with “his boys” and tell the man’s wife about the sexual encounter the week before, according to a police affidavit.
The Salem man went to police April 17. Salem police received permission from the attorney general’s office to monitor phone conversations between the two and confirmed the victim’s allegations.
Grosky told Judge John Korbey that Gray has a lengthy history of convictions and pending criminal cases against him in Massachusetts. He asked that Gray be held on $50,000 cash bail. Gray was being held by police in Massachusetts on a fugitive-from-justice charge when arrested by Salem police.
“This defendant has been on different radar screens for a period of time,” Grosky said.
The list of crimes against Gray is 13 pages long, and includes an armed robbery conviction in 1996, Grosky said.
After Grosky only spoke of the single sexual encounter between the two men, Gray disputed Grosky’s account of what happened.
“The prosecutor didn’t properly reflect the matter at hand,” said Gray, who was shackled. “This is someone I had an ongoing relationship with for at least six months.”
Gray told Korbey he was a paralegal who worked for two lawyer’s offices in the Springfield area and was going to school full time. Gray said he had lent the Salem man money for drug purchases and only wanted to be repaid.
“I did not attempt to steal anything from him,” Gray said.
Gray is being held in the county jail and is scheduled to return to court May 20 for a probable cause hearing.