A former Democratic congressional aide, who admitted to raping two women in 2010, was spared prison time because he was the victim of an unrelated attack that left him disfigured.
In 2002, Donny Ray Williams was asked to contribute to the Homeland Security Act, which led to the creation of the Homeland Security Department.
In 2005, Williams worked with Sen. Mary Landrieu’s committee to help rebuild homes in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
By 2009, Williams was in the White House working for the Obama Administration as a congressional liaison for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“We were helping making changes in lives,” Williams said in an interview with The Washington Post earlier this year. “We were doing real work changing laws to help people immediately.”
But all of that came to a screeching halt in 2010, when Williams allegedly slipped an intern an Ambien and raped her as she lay unconscious. Prosecutors say he raped another woman later that year, who was too inebriated to give her consent.
Williams admitted his guilt in December 2014, but prosecutors asked that the former congressional aide be spared prison time because he, too, was the victim of an attack.
In 2013, Williams was attacked by an unidentified man who threw acid in his face, The Washington Post reports.
The attack left Williams with massive second- and third-degree burns and put him in the hospital for two months. His face is disfigured and he has a huge lump on the top of his head. He was also blinded in one eye and can barely see out of the other.
“I thought I was going to die,” Williams told The Washington Post.
The attack and rape allegations left Williams $1 million in debt and unemployed. He underwent 20 surgeries and still has more to go.
Because of all of this, Judge Robert E. Morin reluctantly agreed to suspend his prison sentence and give Williams five years of probation instead. The judge said that Williams “was a victim of an independent crime and has serious medical issues.”
The suspended sentence came despite a request from one of Williams’ victims that he be given “some jail time.”
“He gave me a random dose of drugs and risked my life,” the unidentified woman stated in a letter read at D.C. Superior Court. “After the assault, I moved away, and he continued to harass me and threatened me to drop the charges. This crime caused me fear, pain and a financial burden.”
In court, Williams expressed his remorse.
“How easy it is for men to use power to abuse,” Williams said. “Rape is cowardly, shameful and downright evil. I promise, I will protect a woman’s right to her own body.”
An investigation was carried out after the acid attack on Williams, but no arrests have been made. Williams said he believes the attacker was a jealous ex-boyfriend of a woman he was dating at the time.