A 22-year-old Wheaton man was convicted by a Montgomery County Circuit Court jury yesterday of the rape and sexual abuse of a woman he met at a neighborhood bar on a rainy evening last spring.

After deliberating nine hours, the jury of nine women and three men found Gregory Eugene Blue, an unemployed laborer, guilty of second-degree rape, second-degree sexual offense and battery of a 25-year-old woman.

Judge John F. McAuliffe set Jan. 11 for sentencing Blue, who could get up to 20 years each for the rape and sexual offense convictions. Battery carries no statutory maximum sentence.

Assistant State's Attorney Matthew Campbell told the jury that the victim had come home May 24 and found her husband working in the basement. "She was miffed, felt neglected by her husband and decided to go out had have a cold beer," Campbell told the jury.

The woman gave this account in court:

She went to the Rose Plaza Restaurant and had three or four beers during 90 minutes. Blue, without being invited, joined in a conversation she was having with another man before the three eventually decided to go home.

She offered to drive Blue home because it was raining and he told her he lived only two blocks from the restaurant. After she had driven Blue to a nearby neighborhood, he asked her to stop her car. Then he punched her in the face several times, threatened her life and forced her to perform a variety of sex acts with him.

Blue, who was arrested the next day, took the witness stand to dispute the woman's account. He testified that her smiles at him in the bar and other gestures were an indication that "she had something else in mind." He said the woman invited him to perform the sex acts.

Paul DeWolfe, Blue's court-appointed attorney, argued that injuries the woman said were caused by Blue could have resulted from a fight with her husband