NEWARK, DELAWARE: Clay Conaway was given five years in prison on November 22 for raping a woman he met on Bumble in June 2018. The victim was 21 at the time of Conaway’s conviction in September.
Conaway is a former University of Delaware baseball player and in a letter read in court, the 23-year-old blamed the rape on his having gotten “caught up in the party lifestyle”. He has been accused of sexually assaulting six women.
Sussex County Superior Court Judge Richard Stokes also sentenced him to one year of home confinement and two years of probation. The victim told the court that her life was “shattered” by the rape, leaving her intensely traumatized, according to the Daily Mail.
The victim testified at the trial that Conaway raped her when she drove to his house three weeks after they connected on the online social and dating application Bumble. Conaway reportedly sent her a nude photograph of himself before their meeting.
According to the victim, she told Conaway that she didn’t want to have sex that day, told him to stop and asked to leave. She also testified that she was surprised, then anxious and afraid, when consensual cuddling and kissing with Conaway escalated to physical force and violence.
“I felt worthless, disrespected and like an object, not a human being,” she said. Conaway was instructed not to speak in court by his attorneys.
“He blocked me and tried to assure me everything was fine. Nothing was fine,” the victim said. “I am not fine, and the path to healing will be long and difficult.”
She added that her trauma has been compounded by the rigors of a trial and widespread publicity about the case. Conaway’s conviction on the charge of fourth-degree rape in September came after a 10-day trial.
The jury deliberated for nearly three hours before convicting Conaway of the charge, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison but no mandatory prison time. He could have faced a life sentence if jurors had convicted him of first-degree rape instead.
The judge departed from sentencing guidelines that called for a range of zero to 30 months in prison. A prosecutor, Rebecca Anderson, had recommended a sentence of eight years in prison on the claim that Conaway shows no remorse for his actions, refuses to accept any blame and lied to investigators.
“The defendant wants everyone to feel sorry for poor Clay,” she said. Defense attorney Natalie Woloshin read aloud excerpts of letters from Conaway and his supporters.
According to Woloshin, Conaway said he was “careless” and got “caught up in the party lifestyle” in a letter to a relative. “I put myself in this position and that kills me,” Conaway wrote.
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