United States Attorney Anne M. Tompkins
Western District of North Carolina
WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice announced that North Carolina Department of Correction’s Division of Community Corrections Probation Officer Willie James Steele Jr., 47, was indicted yesterday on civil rights charges for violating the constitutional rights of a female probationer that he was supervising by coercing her into sexual acts on two separate occasions. Steele was indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law and one count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
According to the indictment filed in the Western District of North Carolina, the Division of Community Corrections supervised offenders serving state probation in the state of North Carolina and provided courtesy supervision for offenders residing in this state but who had committed criminal offenses in other states. Steele supervised the victim, who had had her probation transferred from another state, and had the authority to recommend to a court or other agency that the victim be incarcerated or otherwise sanctioned if she violated the conditions of her probation.
The indictment alleges that Steele engaged in acts that resulted in bodily injury to the victim and constituted aggravated sexual abuse, and that Steele used and carried a firearm during and in relation to that offense. It also alleges that Steele deprived the victim of her constitutional right to bodily integrity on a second occasion.
This case was investigated by the FBI and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenny Smith from the Western District of North Carolina and U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Shan Patel.
Individuals who have additional information or believe they may have been a victim of Steele’s conduct are encouraged to call the FBI Charlotte Office at 704-672-6100.
Charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.