Man sent to prison for violating probation

Man sent to prison for violating probation

URBANA — A convicted sex offender who admitted he violated his probation for having sex with a teenage girl within two hours of being placed on probation has been resentenced to seven years in prison.

Assistant State's Attorney Sarah Carlson had sought that maximum sentence for Stephen Williams, 42, of the 1400 block of Comanche Drive, who was being resentenced for aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

He had pleaded guilty in July to having sex in the spring and fall of 2012 with a 15-year-old girl. On Sept. 18, he was placed on two years of probation and had a GPS tracking device attached to him.

That same day, two hours after leaving the probation office, where probation officer Jeremy Jessup had explained the rules of his probation to him, including having no contact with any minors under 18 or public parks, Jessup found Williams in the company of a 17-year-old girl on a Champaign Park District walking path on Fox Drive in Champaign.

Jessup immediately reported the probation violation to the state's attorney's office, which took steps to revoke Williams' probation. He admitted in early October to the violation.

Carlson called Williams' behavior "frankly frightening" and reiterated for Judge Tom Difanis that Williams was making inappropriate contact with young girls from the Cunningham Children's Home in Urbana, where Williams had spent part of his troubled youth.

"He is a sociopath who is a clear danger to the community, a clear danger to children and a clear danger to the compromised minors who are part of Cunningham Children's Home. He knows better and is taking advantage of the institutional knowledge he has," argued Carlson, referring to the years that Williams spent there.

Williams' attorney, Assistant Public Defender Jamie Propps, said Williams didn't realize he was on park district property. She said he had cooperated with authorities in the underlying case and by pleading guilty to the crime and admitting the probation violation. She urged a minimal prison sentence.

Williams said Carlson was trying to "make me seem like something I'm not" and said his mistakes were in the past.

Difanis said beyond Williams' young age and his admission he had sex with the teen, there was nothing in the record to mitigate his sentence.

"This is his eighteenth criminal conviction plus two juvenile adjudications," Difanis said of Williams' criminal history.

Reading from Jessup's presentence report, Difanis highlighted the section where Jessup called Williams "quite manipulative and predatorial" in his sexual behavior with young women.

"His behavior is only going to stop if he's imprisoned," Difanis said.

"It's apparent he knows the ins and outs of Cunningham Children's Home because he attended eighth grade at the Gerber School. He uses that knowledge to prey on young women there because of personal problems in their lives," he said.

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