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A judge on Monday sentenced a Cleveland man to nine years in prison, telling him he lacked the courage to own up to his role in the 2016 rape of a stranger in Kent.
William Tell III chose "to hide behind (the argument) 'It was consensual. It was a lot of alcohol,'" Common Pleas Judge Becky Doherty said.
"What (she) went through and what you did was rape," she told the 26-year-old, three-time convicted felon.
Saying she had to protect the community, women and Tell "from himself," Doherty also labeled him a Tier III sex offender. That will require him to register his address in person with his local sheriff's office every 90 days for the rest of his life.
Tell followed the 23-year-old vitim home from a downtown Kent bar on March 5, 2016, to her South Water Street residence. Tell struck up a conversation, claiming to be stranded in Kent without a ride back to Cleveland.
The victim allowed Tell to stay on her couch and await a ride. He later forced his way into her bedroom and sexually assaulted her, according to Kent police. The victim was examined and treated at Akron General Medical Center, and DNA collected during the investigation linked Tell to the crime.
Tell is the son and grandson of Cleveland police officers, defense attorney David Grant said. He said his client is a high school graduate who was employed full-time as an apprentice painter at the time of his arrest.
He said Tell maintains his innocence, said the sex was consensual and that "there was a lot of alcohol involved."
"We disagree with the jury's decision, but respect it," Grant said.
Tell declined to make a statement in court because he plans to appeal his conviction, his attorney said.
Doherty said she especially remembered the testimony of the victim at trial.
"I did hear the trial, and the courage it takes to sit in front of a room full of people you don't know and talk about a horrific event in your life is an amount of courage you'll never understand," she told Tell.
The victim was present in the courtroom but declined to read her impact statement to the court, Michniak said.
Tell also likely faces up to three years in prison for violation his probation on abduction and burglary convictions handed down in Cuyahoga County, Doherty and Grant said in court. The fact Tell was on probation for previous crimes prompted Doherty to hand down a more-severe sentence, she said.
Doherty also told Tell "you could have turned it all around" from being a convicted felon on probation to a productive member of society, and that he has harmed his own family by his actions.
"You made a choice that could have destroyed (the victim's) life, but it's not destroying her," she said. "You've done that to yourself, and now your family is suffering the consequences. I don't take any pleasure in sentencing in a case like this."