Ex-college athlete sentenced to 5 years in prison for rape

FILE- In this 2018 file photo provided by the Delaware State Police shows Clay Conaway, a former University of Delaware baseball player charged with raping multiple women. Conaway is scheduled to be sentenced, Friday, Dec. 21, 2019 for the 2018 rape of a woman he met online. (Delaware State Police via AP, File)
FILE- In this 2018 file photo provided by the Delaware State Police shows Clay Conaway, a former University of Delaware baseball player charged with raping multiple women. Conaway is scheduled to be sentenced, Friday, Dec. 21, 2019 for the 2018 rape of a woman he met online. (Delaware State Police via AP, File)

GEORGETOWN, DE – A former University of Delaware baseball player accused of sexually assaulting six women was sentenced Friday to five years in prison for his rape conviction in the first case to go to trial.

Sussex County Superior Court Judge Richard Stokes also sentenced 23-year-old Clay Conaway to one year of home confinement and two years of probation for the June 2018 rape of a woman he met online. She was 21 at the time of Conaway’s conviction in September.

The woman told the judge that the rape “shattered” her world, leaving her struggling to cope with anxiety and stress.

“I felt worthless, disrespected and like an object, not a human being,” she said.

One of Conaway’s lawyers said they instructed him not to address the judge during the hearing. Instead, defense attorney Natalie Woloshin read aloud excerpts of letters from supporters and from Conaway himself. In a letter to a relative, Conaway said he was “careless” and got “caught up in the party lifestyle,” Woloshin said.

“I put myself in this position and that kills me,” Conaway wrote.

After a 10-day trial, a jury deliberated for about three hours before convicting Conaway of fourth-degree rape in September. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison but no mandatory prison time. Conaway had faced a possible life sentence if jurors had convicted him of first-degree rape.

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.