Sentencing is scheduled Friday for a Thousand Palms man convicted of molesting two of his wife’s underage relatives more than a decade ago in Cathedral City.
Following one day of deliberations last month, jurors found John Clement Williams, 55, guilty of six counts of committing lewd acts on a child under 14 years old, and found true six sentence-enhancing allegations of committing sex offenses on multiple victims.
Williams, who remains in custody without bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside, faces up to life in prison.
According to Deputy District Attorney Gypsy Yeager, Williams molested the victims 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 took the stand in his own defense during the weeklong trial, during which he not only refuted the allegations against him but claimed one of the girls initiated inappropriate conduct with him without his permission.
“She took my arm, put it over her and put it on top of her crotch area, over her clothes,” Williams testified. “When I realized what she had done, I removed it immediately.”
The girls reported much of the conduct occurred when they would sleep in the same bed as the defendant and his wife.
While on the stand, Williams said the girls would sleep in the couple’s bed, but testified that the older girl would often pick up his hand and place it on her waist area. He said that one evening, she took it a step further by placing his hand near her crotch, and testified that he never told anyone because he didn’t want to embarrass her.
The victim — now 21 years old — was the second witness to be called for the prosecution on May 11, and her 20-year-old boyfriend was the first.
She cried on the stand as she testified that the defendant repeatedly touched her and engaged in other inappropriate activities against her will. She said the ramifications of the abuse worsened after she entered adulthood.
“I try to put it away and not think about it,” she said. “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.”
During her testimony, she described the initial series of events that led her family to call the Cathedral City Police Department about 2 1/2 years ago to report what transpired more than a decade before.
The woman testified that on Oct. 16, 2018, Williams randomly showed up at a home she shared with her boyfriend and began banging on the door while yelling: “I know you are in there, open the door!” She said he then left a note, which said in part: “Take care. I will always love you. It’s been a pleasure watching you grow up.”
Her boyfriend called her mother, which is when she told her mom about the abuse for the first time. She testified that she kept it a secret all those years out of fear. The mother then asked the younger victim — who was 15 years old at the time — whether she had similar experiences and the girl said she did.
Prosecutors filed charges in January 2019, and Williams was soon arrested soon after.
The older victim also told law enforcement that she witnessed Williams molest the younger girl at one point.
Williams has no documented felony convictions in Riverside County.