A former La Mesa resident and U.S. government employee withdrew his guilty pleas to federal charges stemming from allegations that he sexually abused multiple women, often while they were unconscious, authorities said Tuesday.
In a plea agreement reached last year, Brian Jeffrey Raymond admitted to recording and/or photographing at least 24 unconscious women over the course of 14 years, and groping the victims while recording or photographing them.
Raymond also admitted to having sexual intercourse with two of the women in the recordings, which prosecutors say were made in 2020 at his embassy-leased home in Mexico City. Both women “were incapable of appraising the nature of the conduct or consenting to it,” according to a Department of Justice statement.
Raymond was arrested in La Mesa in the fall of 2020.
An FBI statement seeking information from the public about potential victims stated that Raymond worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for many years and was last working at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.
However, a few months after his guilty plea was taken, Raymond filed a motion to withdraw the plea on the grounds that his legal counsel was ineffective and that he had raised a potential defense to the charges to which he pleaded guilty.
Last week, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly granted his request.
Raymond’s plea withdrawal motion states that the government’s evidence was largely based on photographs which contained “absolutely no objective evidence” that he engaged in sexual acts with the victims. The motion also argues that “medically and physically, he would not have been capable” of having sex with one of the victims due to medication he was taking at the time of the alleged offense.
He also argued that his plea was affected by his attorney’s failure to investigate alleged constitutional violations by law enforcement in their search of Raymond’s phone. The motion states that Raymond initially refused to give federal agents his phone’s passcode to unlock it, but was repeatedly pressured to provide them access to the phone’s contents.
Kollar-Kotelly ruled that Raymond’s defense attorney should have done more to investigate those claims. The judge also noted that Raymond’s pleas regarding two of the alleged victims were “based not on his personal recollection but instead, on his acceptance of the truth of the assertions by (the victims).”
The investigation into Raymond was sparked after a nude woman was spotted on the balcony of his Mexico City apartment on May 31, 2020 “screaming for help.” She told investigators she met Raymond over a dating app, but blacked out after having food and drinks that he provided, according to court documents.
The investigation revealed “hundreds of photographs and videos” depicting unconscious and nude women on Raymond’s cell phones and other electronic devices, according to the Department of Justice.
A search of his Internet history turned up searches for unconscious women, as well as the side effects of prescription drugs and their potential side effects when combined with alcohol, according to the DOJ.
City News Service contributed to this article.