Forsyth Co. judge reverses sentence in sex-abuse case

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FORSYTH CO., N.C. — The day after giving a 20-year-old man up to nine years in prison for sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl, a Forsyth County judge changed his mind and gave the man a suspended sentence of five to six years and nine months, citing extraordinary circumstances in the case.

Eric Lamar Williams Jr. pleaded guilty Wednesday in Forsyth Superior Court to attempted second-degree sex offense, felonious restraint and taking indecent liberties. According to prosecutors, Williams and another co-defendant, Brian Keith Johnson, and two teenage boys picked up the 14-year-old girl.

The girl had been communicating with Johnson, who was 19 at the time, through Facebook and agreed to perform oral sex in exchange for Black and Mild cigars, prosecutors said. The girl performed oral sex on Williams, Johnson and a 17-year-old boy at a park. A 13-year-old boy who was there refused the oral sex.

The girl’s parents reported her missing and the girl did not return home for two days.

David Botchin, Williams’ attorney, presented extensive evidence Wednesday in an attempt to convince Forsyth Superior Judge Joseph Turner to deviate from a mandatory active prison sentence and give Williams probation.

He argued that Williams had lacked social skills, was not an active participant in the incident and had a low IQ, all of which reduced Williams’ culpability.

This article was written by Michael Hewlett and originally published by The Winston-Salem Journal. Click here to read the entire article.