BC-US--Sexual Assault-South Dakota-Football Players,3rd Ld-Writethr, US
VERMILLION, S.D. (AP) — A former University of South Dakota football player who was accused of raping a woman in her dorm room has pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of aggravated assault and been sentenced to 10 years of probation.
Dale Williamson Jr., of Texarkana, Texas, entered the plea Monday. A no contest plea isn’t an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing. He also must pay nearly $1,400 in restitution to the victim, the Argus Leader reported.
Prosecutor Alexis Tracy told the court that Williamson went into the victim’s dorm room while she was sleeping, “pinned her down,” and raped her. The victim woke up, pushed him off of her, grabbed her phone and ran to the bathroom, she said.
“This matter has changed her forever,” Tracy said.
Judge Tami Bern didn’t consider certain details about the attack that Tracy offered during the hearing because she said Williamson was not being sentenced for a sex crime. Bern did say, however, that Williamson, 23, was in an environment that made him feel “entitled to sexual exploitation,” and “I find that abhorrent.”
The victim had a sexual assault exam performed at a Sioux Falls hospital about 12 hours after the attack, but she didn’t want to report it to law enforcement at that time and the kit was saved by the hospital as a “Jane Doe.”
The victim came forward to Vermillion police in October 2017, about a week after news broke that Williamson and another football player, Danny Rambo, were accused of trying to rape someone else. A jury acquitted Williamson in that case last year and Rambo pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in March 2018 and was sentenced to 10 days in jail.
Tracy did not comment Tuesday on why prosecutors allowed Williamson to plead to a lesser, non-sex-related charge. She did tell The Associated Press that victim credibility and Williamson’s acquittal in the other case were not factors.
Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com