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Rapist used ‘gay’ front to lull victims

Rapist used ‘gay’ front to lull victims

By Sharon Coolidge
scoolidge@enquirer.com

Well-dressed, soft-spoken, Michael-Jackson like.

That’s how 26-year-old Robert Williams’ rape victims described him.

Prosecutors agree, but say Williams is more like a spider with a web. They describe him as calculating, methodical in luring his prey.

Williams befriended his first two victims, pretending to be their “gay best friend.”

Months would pass, he gained their trust and then one day he turned on them and raped them. His approach with a third victim, a 17-year-old, was an old scam: I can make you a model.

Williams was convicted this week on four charges of rape related to three victims in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court. He faces up to 40 years in prison when Judge Steve Martin sentences him Sept. 15.

“I use the analogy of the spider and the web,” Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Katie Burroughs said. “He weaved intricate lies about who he was and what he was. Once the women became ensnared, he pounced.”

Like a spider, the crimes happened in his home, where Williams felt comfortable, knew the exits and could threaten he had a weapon.

Cincinnati Det. DeRon Hall said he knows of two other victims who refused to testify, afraid to share such a personal attack. He said he suspects other victims never reported being raped.

“If there is somebody else out there, we’d definitely like to talk to them,” said Hall, who described Williams as a sociopath. “I’m not a doctor by any means, but he definitely has some sociopath tendencies in that he doesn’t think he did anything wrong.”

The cases date to 2004, but Williams was finally arrested in December after the attacking a teenage girl in 2008.

It took so long to lock Williams up because the first victim, who was raped in February 2004, refused to go forward with charges. A grand jury refused to charge Williams in the June 2004 attack on the second victim, saying there wasn’t enough evidence. But when the third victim, a 17-year-old Colerain Township girl, was attacked, the case came together, Burroughs said.

Williams testified during the trial, admitting he had sex with the victims. But, he said it was consensual and it was a situation in which he agreed to pay them.

Burroughs fired back: You’re a good looking man, why would you have to pay for sex?

Williams said that because he is effeminate women assume he is gay and therefore aren’t interested in dating him.

In the February 2004 case, Williams befriended the victim at her workplace in Tower Place downtown. Over a six- to eight-month period, he often stopped by and they would talk about God and their churches. Williams even agreed to lend her money.

One night, they went out after work and later Williams lured the victim to his home where he insisted on giving her money.

Williams led her into his dark Evanston apartment, shut the door and grabbed her by her neck. They struggled. He pulled her hair. He left a nail imprint on her neck.

He then raped her. She reported the attack, but declined to prosecute.

Williams was already on to the next victim.

The woman worked in the Federal Courthouse, where he often stopped by to visit her. She said they would talk about shoes and fashion. She assumed because of his interests and mannerisms Williams was gay.

One night he called and said he was having a bad day, would she come over? The woman was hesitant, but agreed. They talked but when she tried to leave, Williams sexually assaulted her, saying he had a gun. She convinced him to let her go to the bathroom. From there, she escaped, running from the apartment naked from the waist down and not stopping until she saw a police officer.

Prosecutors say the other three female victims, were targets of a similar “I’m your gay best friend” scam. Those attacks happened between 2005 and 2007.

Williams then got sloppy, unwilling to wait, Burroughs said. He approached the teenage girl at Government Square Transit Center downtown in December of 2008, commenting that she could be a model. He followed her onto a bus, trying to engage her in conversation.

When the teen got up to get off, Williams gave her a business card saying he did photo shoots and the photographer, “Karen,” would just love her.

He wooed her, saying the photos would be for a church brochure.

She gave Williams her number and when he called a few days later, she agreed to meet Williams and “Karen” in a downtown hotel lobby where “Karen” supposedly worked. Of course, “Karen” doesn’t exist, Burroughs said.

Once there, Williams said “Karen” was running late, and said she would catch up with them at his Bond Hill home. Once there, Williams asked the teenager take off her clothes to make sure she didn’t have objectionable tattoos.

She balked and Williams turned mean and aggressive.

Scared, she did what he asked and Williams raped her.

She escaped and called 911, leading to Williams’ arrest.

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