A Colorado Springs barber could spend the rest of his life in prison after being convicted of sexually assaulting seven children, including the 8-year-old son of a homeless woman he took in under the guise of a good Samaritan.
An El Paso County jury found Raymond Demon Brown, 36, guilty on most counts Thursday after a nearly weeklong trial.
Prosecutors say Brown targeted the children of vulnerable women by setting himself up as a reliable friend - especially for single mothers.
"'It was, 'Integrate yourself with the family, earn their trust, and then the kids will be yours,'" said prosecutor Anne Francis, adding that Brown in some cases helped with food and day care expenses.
A total of nine children stepped forward. That included one male relative who had endured six years of sexual abuse beginning in the early 1990s, preceding most of the other assaults by a decade.
Brown, who worked at a variety of barbershops in Colorado Springs, was initially arrested in April 2016 after an 8-year-old boy reported that Brown had sexually assaulted him for two years ending in November 2015 while helping to care for him.
The boy's mother told police Brown offered to let her move in with him with her son when they were unable to afford rent. He also routinely babysat, authorities said.
Brown insisted on having his name added to the boy's birth certificate, claiming he wanted the tax benefits, then used the document to petition for the boy's custody. The boy reported he was assaulted during an ensuing custody battle.
After Brown's arrest, seven more children reported assaults spanning 16 years, Francis said, crediting a dogged investigation by a Colorado Springs police team led by sex crimes detective Terry Thrumston.
"This case was her life for two years," Francis said. As police interviewed the mother of the first victim, Thrumston keyed in on references to other single mothers Brown had befriended and tracked them down, one by one.
Prosecutors say Brown worked hard to persuade single mothers he was someone who could be trusted. All were invited to bring their children into the barbershops where he worked for free haircuts, authorities said.
"He set himself up as a standup guy with a career and money. Just a typical, typically sex offender routine," Francis said.
An El Paso County jury dismissed allegations that he also assaulted two girls who had lodged allegations against him, acquitting him of several counts.
The panel deliberated for roughly 1½ days after a trial before 4th Judicial District Judge Deborah Grohs.
Brown is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 2. Francis said she will push for the maximum sentence, which could range in the triple digits.
Brown faces an indeterminate sentence in prison, meaning that he will be held until the Colorado Department of Corrections deems him to be safe for parole.
His attorney, Andy Bryant, said Brown continues to protest his innocence.
Said Francis: "We're getting this person off the street. He won't have access to victims in prison."