A leading member of the Isle-of-Wight Salvation Army Corps is currently sitting in a United States prison cell awaiting sentencing for solicitation of a minor.
Roy Anthony Williams, a Corps Sergeant Major with the Salvation Army on the Island, admitted trying to persuade a 13-year-old girl to take part in acts that would constitute aggravated statutory rape.
The offences took place in the southern state last summer as Mr Williams travelled across America. He is said to have met the teenager online.
Lenoir City Police Sgt. Lynette Ladd reported, “Williams did send (the girl) messages encouraging her to meet him and offering to go to her residence and pick her up.
“Williams texted (the girl’s) phone asking, ‘Are you still OK about me taking ur [sic] virginity?’
“Williams also commented through (the girl’s) phone, ‘It’s never been about sex. It’s much more. I love you. I desire you’.”
According to the police report, Williams invited the teenager to his room at a local motel, which was where police found him.
Williams has been the public face of the Salvation Army on the Isle-of-Wight for many of the Christmas lunches he organised over the years for the elderly and vulnerable.
A spokesperson for the Salvation Army said:,“The Salvation Army heard of the charges made against Roy Williams on 3th August 2017 and removed him from membership on that day.
“We are shocked and horrified at the behaviour which has led to him being charged and imprisoned in the USA. We would stress that we take the protection of children and vulnerable adults very seriously and The Salvation Army has robust safeguarding procedures in place.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and all those affected by his actions,” they added.
Williams is being detained by Knox County Sheriff’s office, pending sentencing. A reporter from News-Herald anticipated that he would be expected to come to a plea agreement with the District Attorney and would be sentenced accordingly.
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee lists Roy Anthony Williams as being due in court on 30th January 2018, in front of Judge Varlan.