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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

Friday, April 29, 2016

District Man Sentenced to Six Years in Prison For Sexually Assaulting Homeless Woman

Neighborhood Resident Heard Victim's Screams, Called Police

            WASHINGTON – Ernest L. Williams, 65, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to six years of incarceration for sexually assaulting a homeless woman in a Northwest Washington alley, U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips announced.

            Williams was found guilty in February 2016 of assault with intent to commit first-degree sexual abuse, following a trial before the Honorable Milton C. Lee in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Judge Lee sentenced Williams to a total of 15 years in prison, but suspended all but six years on the condition that he successfully complete five years of supervised probation. Williams also must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

            According to the government’s evidence, Williams and the victim were both homeless and staying at a park on North Capitol Street. On Oct. 10, 2014, both had been drinking during the day and the victim became hungry. That night, Williams offered to go with her to a local carry-out to get some food. However, on the walk, he made an excuse to cut through an alley off the unit block of Florida Avenue NW. Once in the alley, he pinned her against a fence and started sexually assaulting her.  She screamed “help” and rape” repeatedly and tried to fight back, but he overpowered her. He hit her in the face, sexually assaulted her on the ground.

            A woman in a nearby house heard the screams and called the police.  When officers from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) arrived, Williams was on top of the victim. He was arrested and has been in custody ever since.

            In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Phillips commended the work of those who investigated the case from the Metropolitan Police Department. He also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including former Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Cook; Michael Ambrosino, Special Counsel for DNA and Forensic Evidence; Criminal Investigators Mark Fitzgerald, Mark Crawford and Melissa Matthews; Victim/Witness Advocate Lezlie Richardson; Paralegal Specialist Tierra Nanches; Information Technology Specialist Anisha Bhatia, and Legal Intern Sontanna Cremins.   Finally he commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Miranda, who investigated and prosecuted the case.

Press Release Number: 
Updated April 29, 2016