Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"Gay best friend" sentenced to 40 years for serial rapes

A Cincinnati rapist who posed as a gay man to lure two of his victims and a talent agent to lure a fourth victim was sentenced to 40 years in prison today. In denial to the end, Robert Williams claimed he never pretended to be gay, never raped them, and after ranting to Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Steve Martin, a relative on one of the victims rebuked him, shouting "You should be ashamed of yourself. You should be ashamed of yourself."

Williams, 26, was convicted of four counts of rape, at 10 years in prison each. In Ohio, all prison sentences are served at 100%. During the trial, prosecutors used the analogy of a spider and a web when describing how Williams lured, then sexually attacked, his prey.

Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Katie Burroughs said, "I use the analogy of the spider and his web. He weaved intricate lies about who he was and what he was. Once the women became ensnared, he pounced."

It took almost 5 years for the earlier cases to be brought to trial because the first victim, raped in February 2004, refused to file charges and the June 2004 rape victim's story was nor believed by a grand jury, so charges were not filed in that case, either. When Williams went on trial last month, he said that the sex was consensual, but paid.

At the trial, Burroughs asked why Williams would need to pay for sex if he's so good looking.

Williams said that because he is effeminate women assume he is gay and therefore aren't interested in dating him.

In the February 2004 case, Williams befriended the victim at her workplace in Tower Place downtown. Over a six- to eight-month period, he often stopped by and they would talk about God and their churches. Williams even agreed to lend her money.

One night, they went out after work and later Williams lured the victim to his home where he insisted on giving her money.

Williams led her into his dark Evanston apartment, shut the door and grabbed her by her neck. They struggled. He pulled her hair. He left a nail imprint on her neck.

He then raped her. She reported the attack, but declined to prosecute.

Williams was already on to the next victim.

The woman worked in the Federal Courthouse, where he often stopped by to visit her. She said they would talk about shoes and fashion. She assumed because of his interests and mannerisms Williams was gay.

One night he called and said he was having a bad day, would she come over? The woman was hesitant, but agreed. They talked but when she tried to leave, Williams sexually assaulted her, saying he had a gun. She convinced him to let her go to the bathroom. From there, she escaped, running from the apartment naked from the waist down and not stopping until she saw a police officer.

Prosecutors say the other three female victims, were targets of a similar "I'm your gay best friend" scam. Those attacks happened between 2005 and 2007.

Williams then got sloppy, unwilling to wait, Burroughs said. He approached the teenage girl at Government Square Transit Center downtown in December of 2008, commenting that she could be a model. He followed her onto a bus, trying to engage her in conversation.

When the teen got up to get off, Williams gave her a business card saying he did photo shoots and the photographer, "Karen," would just love her.

He wooed her, saying the photos would be for a church brochure. She gave Williams her number and when he called a few days later, she agreed to meet Williams and "Karen" in a downtown hotel lobby where "Karen" supposedly worked. Of course, "Karen" doesn't exist, Burroughs said.
Once there, Williams said "Karen" was running late, and said she would catch up with them at his Bond Hill home. Once there, Williams asked the teenager take off her clothes to make sure she didn't have objectionable tattoos.

She balked and Williams turned mean and aggressive. Scared, she did what he asked and Williams raped her. She escaped and called 911, leading to Williams' arrest.

According to Cincinnati detective DeRon Hall, Williams had two other known victims who refused to testify because they are still scared of him, and suspects there are more victims. "If there is somebody else out there, we'd definitely like to talk to them. I'm not a doctor by any means, but he definitely has some sociopath tendencies in that he doesn't think he did anything wrong."

At the sentencing today, two of Williams' victims gave their impact statements. "I'm glad that I did come forward and I hope that this doesn't happen to anyone else," the first victim said. The second victim stated that she had finally worked through the shame and fear she felt after Williams changed. "Today is the day I no longer have to apologize for what happened," she said. "I feared for my life. I believed that he had a gun."

Before the judge passed sentence, he rebuked Williams for implying that he wasn't the rapist jurors convicted him of being. "You are in fact a serial rapist. There's just no question about it."

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