on June 1, 2007 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Man guilty of sex acts against stepdaughter

WALHALLA — Rarely do you see a defendant in a sex case take the stand on his own behalf.

Charles V. Williams did, but it did him no good.

An Oconee County jury deliberated less than two hours Thursday in finding Williams guilty of sexually molesting his stepdaughter, who was 14 years old when the abuse began in September 1992, and which continued for another two years.

The victim, who is now 29-years old, stood a few feet away from Williams as they faced presiding Circuit Judge Alex Macaulay prior to the guilty man’s sentencing.

“This is a new day for me,” she said, adding she had waited a long time for justice to be done.

Williams stood in crutches before the judge. He looked down at the floor as Macaulay asked if he had anything to say.

Appearing confused as he looked for guidance from his attorney Scott Robinson, Williams did not have much to say.

“I’m sorry to put the court through this,” he said. “I’m remorseful.”

Macaulay handed out concurrent sentences on each of three counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the second degree, and two counts of lewd act upon a minor. On a third count of lewd act upon a minor, Macaulay sentenced Williams to five years in prison followed by five years probation.

Assistant Solicitor Lindsay Simmons, who prosecuted the case, said Williams would probably serve about 14 years in prison. She said the crimes he committed took place prior to 1997, which is when convicted sex offenders were first required to serve 85 percent of their sentence.

Williams, who also would get credit for two years already spent behind bars, would serve about 58 percent of his sentence.

Simmons probably sealed the guilty verdict during her closing arguments when she called Robinson’s summation “lots of smoke and lots of mirrors.”

The defense attorney tried to convince the jury that the victim accused Williams of the charges to draw attention away from the fact that she had a baby out of wedlock. Robinson also questioned why the victim waited two years after the molestation to make the accusations.

Simmons said the victim “had the courage to come here” and testify how she had been molested.

“She would have let it go if it were not true,” Simmons said.

Robinson’s only witness was the defendant. There were many instances when the defense attorney had problems getting an answer out of his own client.

That became evident when the topic turned to Williams leaving South Carolina and going to New York, even though his personal recognizance bond prohibited him from doing that. In fact, Williams went missing from 1997 through 2005, when he was finally arrested on a general bench warrant.

Simmons pounced on Williams’ absence from South Carolina during cross-examination.

At one point Robinson objected to the questioning and asked that the jury be sent out of the courtroom so he could argue his objection.

Macaulay had the jury leave, but he was hardly sympathetic to the defense attorney’s plea, saying Robinson was the one who brought up extradition during his questioning of Williams.

“When you open the door you allow others to peek in,” Macaulay said.