Man, 59, sentenced to life for sex abuse

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A grandfather who repeatedly sexually abused several children was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison.

A Richmond County jury had been selected to hear the case against 59-year-old William Widener, but he agreed to a plea negotiation.

Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. accepted the agreement, which called for Mr. Widener to plead guilty to two counts of aggravated child molestation and receive the life sentence.

In sentencing Mr. Widener the judge called him a contemptible, evil man.

Lead investigator Thelma Gilchrist, who has worked on child abuse cases for at least 18 years, said the children were abused for several years.

"This is the most horrific case I've ever worked," Investigator Gilchrist said. "This had been going on for five or six years. It didn't just start."

Assistant District Attorney Geoffrey Fogus said Mr. Widener faced 19 counts that were each punishable by a life sentence. He agreed to the plea negotiation in return for Mr. Widener's acceptance of responsibility and to spare the children from testifying.

On Jan. 17, 2008, a mother of five called the sheriff's department after the children told her of seeing Mr. Widener naked, Mr. Fogus said.

In forensic interviews with child specialists, the children described sexual contact with Mr. Widener that included aggravated sodomy with a 6-year-old boy and 7-year-old girl, Mr. Fogus said.

In 1991, Mr. Widener was convicted of child molestation in Richmond County Superior Court and sentenced to five years in prison followed by five years' probation.

In that case he admitted to fondling an 11-year-old boy, Mr. Fogus said.

Mr. Widener, who made no statement Tuesday, will be eligible for parole.

Currently the parole board does not consider parole until 30 years have been served on a life sentence.

Staff Writer Adam Folk contributed to this story.

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

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Craig Spinks
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Craig Spinks 03/25/09 - 03:29 am
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Is this the same William

Is this the same William Widener who begot a namesake who murdered another druggie in a drug-deal-gone-wrong several years ago near the Uptown VA?

pofwe
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pofwe 03/25/09 - 06:35 am
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Gotta be!

Gotta be!

pantherluvcik
628
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pantherluvcik 03/25/09 - 06:44 am
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Thank god this man will be

Thank god this man will be away for atleast 30 years, hopefully he'll be dead by then. Disgusting piece of garbage deserves to be raped in prison and that's exactly what they do to pedophiles and rapists. I hope they sodomize him daily, the way he did those innocent children and worse.

getalife
4
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getalife 03/25/09 - 09:49 am
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The 1991 arrest and

The 1991 arrest and conviction of this man with a sentence of only 5 years proves that most of these sexual criminals cannot change and many of them will be released to harm more children. No amount of therapy, rehabilitation or prison time will change them. Castration does not work because this crime is of the mind. They need to be locked up for the rest of their miserable life.

JohnQPublic
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JohnQPublic 03/25/09 - 10:03 am
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Why were these children

Why were these children allowed near a prior sex offender? The mother needs to be prosecuted as well! This is nauseating!

justus4
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justus4 03/25/09 - 11:09 am
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This sounds like a trick.
Unpublished

This sounds like a trick. There is a possible loophole that jumps right out at ya. This old guy, the worst of the worst, and the judical system working with him. What a joke! And to the mother, where was she? Welfare mom perhaps? Food stamp receiptent? Non-minority individual maybe? Well that explains it and the so-called "justice" offered. What a disgraceful set of circumstances and example of poor justice.

themaninthemirror
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themaninthemirror 03/25/09 - 04:39 pm
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He should have been executed

He should have been executed in 1991.

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