Originally created 12/16/03

Flashing schoolchildren leads to 15-year sentence



An Augusta man accused of exposing himself to children on their way to school in several incidents received a 15-year prison sentence Monday.

Robert C. Williams, 27, pleaded guilty to reduced charges in Richmond County Superior Court, where his case has been pending for nearly two years. On Monday, he admitted committing seven acts of public indecency, along with four instances of felony sexual battery, theft by receiving and traffic violations that included failure to stop for a school bus, fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer and reckless driving.

The traffic offenses and the theft charge stem from March 7, 2002, when Richmond County Sheriff deputies attempted to stop the driver of a white Chrysler. A similar car was driven earlier in the week by a man who flashed two girls as they walked to school in the Lumpkin Road area.

Mr. Williams, who was driving the car, fled, and deputies pursued the vehicle into Burke County, where Mr. Williams crashed into a tree. The vehicle was reported stolen from an Albany, Ga., car dealership.

Defense attorney Scott Connell asked Judge Carl C. Brown Jr. to consider leniency given the fact Mr. Williams has already been jailed for nearly two years. It also appeared that Mr. Williams was not the only person responsible for flashing schoolchildren in that south Augusta area in 2002, Mr. Connell said.

Mr. Williams had at least one prior conviction for theft, Judge Brown noted. He sentenced Mr. Williams to 15 years in prison, to be followed by 12 years of probation. Mr. Williams will have to register as a sex offender when he is released from prison.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.