A young woman testified Tuesday that her relative’s husband repeatedly touched her inappropriately when she and her sister would visit the couple’s Cathedral City home as children, adding that the ramifications of the alleged abuse worsened after she entered adulthood.
“I try to put it away and not think about it,” the woman, now 21, testified in between intermittent bouts of tears. “Now that I’m older, it’s affecting me a lot more. I get scared when I’m alone. I feel like somebody is watching me or following me.”
Testimony began Tuesday at the Riverside Hall of Justice in the trial of John Clement Williams, 55, who is suspected of molesting two sisters over the span of two years between 2008 and 2009, when one of the girls was between 4 and 5 years old and the other was between 7 and 8.
Williams is charged with six counts of committing lewd acts on a child under 14 year old, and faces sentence-enhancing allegations of committing sex offenses on multiple victims. He faces a possible life sentence if convicted as charged, according to prosecutors. Cathedral City is just east of Palm Springs in the Coachella Valley.
The older sister was the second witness to be called for the prosecution, and her 20-year-old boyfriend was the first.
Together, they described the initial series of events that led the family to call the Cathedral City Police Department in October 2018 to report what allegedly transpired more than a decade ago.
The woman testified how on Oct. 16, 2018, Williams allegedly showed up randomly to a home shared by her and her boyfriend, where the defendant allegedly began banging on the door while yelling: “I know you are in there, open the door.” He then left a note, the woman testified, which said in part: “Take care. I will always love you. It’s been a pleasure watching you grow up.”
The boyfriend then called the girl’s mother, which is when the victim told her mother about the alleged abuse for the first time. The victim testified that she kept it a secret all these years out of fear. The mother than asked the younger sister — who was 15 years old at the time — whether she had similar experiences. The girl said she did, according to court papers.
Prosecutors filed charges in January 2019, and Williams was soon arrested.
The older victim described how some of the alleged acts of abuse occurred as she slept in the same bed with her relative and the defendant. She also told law enforcement that she witnessed Williams molest her sister at one point, according to court papers.
In a recorded phone call with one of the victims organized by law enforcement, the defendant allegedly denied the allegations against him, but did admit to taking showers with her, which he called inappropriate, the papers say.
Williams, who remains held on $1 million bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside, has no documented felony convictions in Riverside County.
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