BATTLE CREEK, Mich. - A Battle Creek man was sentenced Friday to more than three decades in prison for raping a young girl.

Fred T. Williams was sentenced to 37½ to 75 years in prison following his conviction for first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Williams, 37, was found guilty by a Calhoun County Circuit Court jury of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl on July 12, 2017.

Williams maintains he is innocent.

The girl was the daughter of a family friend and went to his home on Gardenia Street where the attack occurred. She told Battle Creek police soon after she went to the house he began to kiss her. She went into the bathroom to avoid him and mistakenly locked herself inside.

Williams unlocked the door and then took her by the wrist to a bedroom where she was attacked before he let her leave.

"The victim was a child who trusted you and turned to you for help when she was having trouble," Judge Sarah Lincoln said. "She was vulnerable and a very brave young lady to come in and face you after what happened to her and she is going to live with the effects of this for a very long time."

The judge called Williams' behavior predatory and noted that he has seven prior felony convictions and 19 misdemeanors and that he was on parole when he was arrested for the rape.

Assistant Prosecutor Tamara Towns echoed the judge's statements when she said the victim "had been violated by someone she trusted and never expected him to do this."

Defense attorney David Goldstein told the court that his client maintains his innocence.

Williams did not speak during the sentencing hearing.

Contact Trace Christenson at 269-966-0685 or tchrist@battlecreekenquirer.com. Follow him on Twitter: @TSChristenson.

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