Courts
Jonathan Miano, The Times

CROWN POINT — Lake Criminal Court Judge Salvador Vasquez sentenced Aaron Cantrell Williams, 24, of Portage, on Friday to two years with the Indiana Department of Correction on a level 5 felony charge of criminal confinement without consent by using a vehicle.

Williams was originally charged with rape and kidnapping in April 2015 in a sexual assault that took place Sept. 15, 2014. He could have faced a prison sentence of three to 16 years if convicted of rape, a felony level 3 charge.

In a plea agreement, Williams pleaded guilty on June 17 to the criminal confinement charge. The Lake County prosecutor’s office agreed to drop the rape and kidnapping charges in that plea agreement.

In her victim impact statement, a Lake County woman said, “I thought I was going to a movie with a man named Chris,” she said, adding that the sexual assault by Williams on Sept. 15, 2014, in Williams’ car left her with feelings that “danger comes at all times … I trusted him. I no longer trust anyone.”

According to court records, after taking the victim on what was supposed to be a date, Williams drove her to the Lake Station park where he sexually assaulted her. He then left the woman there and took her cellphone.

DNA collected from the woman after the attack was sent to the Indiana State Police laboratory and was a match to Williams. He has been out on a $5,000 cash bond since April 17, 2015.

The two met on a social media website, although Williams gave a false name because he was already in “a committed relationship,” his defense attorney Nicholas Catsadimas told the judge.

Catsadimas said Williams financially supports his son and mother when asking for a sentence with Lake County Community Corrections and probation.

After the victim read her statement, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Nadia Chivers told Vasquez that Williams was out on bond in a domestic battery case in Porter County when he committed this offense.

“He is a danger to society,” Chivers said, asking Vasquez for a sentence of four years with the Indiana Department of Correction, with two years of incarceration and two years with Lake County Community Corrections.

After hearing the arguments and victim impact statement, Vasquez cited elements of Williams’ character, including that he hid his true identity and was out on bond from Porter County case only three months before the assault.

“This doesn’t bode well for you,” the judge said, then shook his head. “The victim testifies, puts her heart on the table in front of strangers.”

Vasquez sentenced Williams to the two-year term with one year to be served with the Indiana Department of Correction and the second year in the Lake County Community Corrections program. The victim held onto friends’ hands in the gallery as Williams was placed in handcuffs.

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News Editor/Lake County Editor