Accused Rapist Pleads To Lesser Charge, Sentenced To Six Years In Prison

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An Athens man has been sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty last week to felonious assault and theft.

Shannon Williams, 41, was indicted last year by an Athens County grand jury on charges of rape and theft. He was accused of raping a woman at an Athens apartment and taking her debit card. Friday, he appeared in front of Judge George McCarthy and pleaded to the lesser charge of felonious assault — a second-degree felony — as well as a fifth-degree felony theft.

Per the plea agreement, Williams will be subjected to three years of mandatory post release control. A news release from the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office states that attempts by Williams to secure early judicial release will be opposed.

Prior to the guilty plea, Williams’ attorney, Doug Francis, had asked for the mental health records of the victim to be submitted to the defense. Williams had claimed that the sex between him and the woman was consensual. McCarthy had granted the defense’s motion but only to the extent that the records would be provided under seal to the court and that McCarthy would view the records privately before determining if the records would finally be given to Francis. The issue is now moot with Williams’ plea.

“He has a long sentence ahead of him for serious crimes,” said Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn.

According to Blackburn, the victim in the case was in agreement with the plea deal.