Ex-priest, Lawyer Loses Appeal on Child Rape Charges
By Nick Glunt
May 13, 2016
A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld the sentence of 10 years to life in prison for a former Akron priest and lawyer convicted in 2008 of raping an 8-year-old boy.
Joseph Williams, 72, will remain behind bars at Mansfield Correctional Institution until at least October 2018, when he will go before a parole panel. Williams was convicted in Cuyahoga Common Pleas Court on a charge of raping a child under age 13, and he appealed his case repeatedly until it reached a federal court.
In his latest appeal, Williams’ attorneys argue that previous attorneys who represented him were not effective at defending him. Specifically, they alleged previous attorneys should have attempted to find witnesses to support an alibi and brought psychiatric experts to the witness stand to speak of the alleged rape victim’s mental illnesses.
Sixth District U.S. Court of Appeals judges denied Williams’ appeal on Thursday, writing that he should have brought up those arguments to lower appellate courts rather than a federal court.
According to the appellate court, Williams raped the boy in Warrensville Heights in 1992 after telling the boy they “were going to a play a game.” Though Williams admitted in 2004 to molesting a teenage boy in the 1980s, the appellate judges wrote he denied he raped the 8-year-old.
The judges wrote the incident led the boy to suffer flashbacks in 2007, when he was 23 years old.
He sought psychiatric care and was diagnosed with a variety of mental illnesses. Williams’ attorneys alleged the jury should have been told of the victim’s mental status.
Williams was a priest from 1969 to 1975 and earned a law license in 1986. No testimony indicated Williams assaulted the boys while he was a priest.
Nick Glunt can be reached at 330-996-3565 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow him on Twitter @NickGluntABJ.