By Mary Jo Denton
BYRDSTOWN - Former Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Williams went to court yesterday and pleaded guilty to sex crimes with a minor and was sentenced to eight years in prison.
Williams, 38, of Byrdstown, came to Criminal Court in his hometown, his wife by his side, and stood before Judge David Patterson to plead guilty to the following:
- Two counts of aggravated statutory rape.
- Two counts of attempt to commit especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor.
- One count of sexual exploitation of a minor.
The victim in the case was a 14-year-old girl.
The former trooper, who resigned his job earlier this year after he came under investigation by the THP and the District Attorney, was sentenced to a total of eight years for the crimes.
Two of those years must be served day-for-day, according to DA Randy York and Assistant DA Mark Gore.
After serving all of the two-year sentence and 30 percent of the remainder of the sentence, Williams will be eligible for parole.
Williams was sentenced as a "child sexual predator" on the aggravated statutory rape charges, Gore said.
He will also be listed on the state's sex offender registry.
Last April, Williams waived his right to a criminal indictment in the case and was formally charged by a criminal "information" filed in Pickett County, where the offenses took place.
The case began after authorities received a complaint alleging that the trooper had had an affair with a 14-year-old girl. Among the allegations made at the time was a report that Williams had sexually explicit photos of the girl.
"The guilty plea entered Wednesday by former trooper Wade Williams brings closure to this unfortunate incident and, hopefully, some relief for the victim and the victim's family," said Commissioner Bill Gibbons of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security.
"Williams has been sentenced accordingly, he will serve time in prison, and will be placed on the sex offender registry. The actions of Wade Williams do not represent the men and women of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and all those who put their lives on the line to serve and protect the citizens of Tennessee," Gibbons said.
"No one is above the law, and this type of behavior will not be tolerated by the Department of Safety and Homeland Security."
Williams, who was represented in court by attorney Todd Daniels, was taken to jail yesterday following the sentencing.
Asst. DA Gore represented the state in the case.