California Man Sentenced to 9 Years for Sex Offense Involving Mentally Incapacitated 8 Year-old - Southern Maryland Headline News

California Man Sentenced to 9 Years for Sex Offense Involving Mentally Incapacitated 8 Year-old

CALLAWAY, Md. (Nov. 18, 2014)—William Clay Wilson, 47, formerly of California, Md. was sentenced by judge Sean Wallace on Oct. 29 to ten years in the Maryland Division of Corrections prison in Jessup, with one year suspended, for the third degree sex offense involving a mentally incapacitated eight year-old child.

According to a police press release issued just after Wilson's arrest in Sept. 2013, the abuse occurred on August 28, 2013. The sheriff's office reported that their detectives received notification of the suspected child sexual abuse from the St. Mary’s County Department of Social Services. Wilson was released from custody on Sept. 16, 2013.

On November 6, 2013, Wilson was indicted by the grand jury sitting in St. Mary's County for Sex Offense Third Degree, Sex Offense Second Degree, and Sex Offense Fourth Degree-Sexual Contact. On Nov. 13, 2013, a criminal warrant was issued. On March 24, 2014, he entered an Alford plea and was found guilty of Third Degree Sex Offense involving a mentally incapacitated victim. The latter two charges were dropped by the prosecution.

According to Cornell University Law School:

"Also known as a 'best-interests' plea, an Alford plea registers a formal claim neither of guilt nor innocence toward charges brought against a defendant in criminal court. Like a nolo contendere plea, an Alford plea arrests the full process of criminal trial because the defendant—typically, only with the court's permission—accepts all the ramifications of a guilty verdict (i.e. punishment) without first attesting to having committed the crime. The name, Alford plea, is taken from North Carolina v. Alford 400 U.S. 25." ( Source: )

Wilson was ordered to register as a sex offender with the Maryland Sex Offender Registry for the remainder of his life.

According to a press release received today from the State's Attorney for St. Mary's County:

"At sentencing, the defendant's mother, local realtor Jan Barnes, addressed the court and asked for leniency because her son had a drinking problem and didn't know what he was doing at the time. Additional witnesses included the defendant's brother and psychologist James Lewis. The victim's stepmother spoke on the victim's behalf. In fashioning a sentence that exceeded the Maryland Sentencing Guidelines, Judge Wallace made mention of the defendant's prior involvements in activity of this sort, noting an incident in 2005 where the defendant attempted to lure a young girl into a car from a Wildewood bus stop."

Detective Cory Ellis was the arresting officer. Wilson was represented by Shawn Hrotic, Esquire, of Harris & Capristo in California.


Press release from State's Attorney for St. Mary's County after sentencing of William Wilson.

Case chronology from Maryland Judiciary Case Search database.

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