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Grand jury indicts man on 38 rape counts

A Letcher County grand jury has indicted a Gilley man on 38 counts of rape of a child and related charges, including unlawful imprisonment and bribing a witness.

Michael D. Williams, 57, of 12468 East Ky. HWY 221, Big Laurel, just across the line from Harlan County, faces multiple charges of first-degree rape of a child by forcible compulsion, first-degree sexual abuse, incest, bribing a witness, and other charges.

According to the indictments, the incidents occurred during summer school break in 2016, 2017, and 2018 when the girl was less than 12 until she was less than 14. A warrant has been issued for Williams, but he has not yet been arrested.

The indictment accuses Williams of unlawfully restraining the girl in a bedroom, exposing himself to her, and engaging in sexual contact with her on at least two occasions in the summer of 2016 when she was less than 12 years old. The indictment also says Williams twice “offered, confer or agreed to confer pecuniary benefit” to the child as a bribe to prevent her from testifying against him in an official proceeding.

A second indictment accuses Williams of raping the girl three times during the summer of 2017, when she was less than 14 years old. The indictment charges that Williams used “forcible compulsion” to accomplish the rape, meaning the charge is not based solely on the girl’s age, but also upon violence used during commission of the act.

That indictment also charges him with three counts each of first-degree sexual abuse of a child under 14, three counts of indecent exposure, three counts of unlawful imprisonment, three counts of incest and three counts of bribing a witness.

A third indictment charges additional counts of first-degree rape of a child under 14 by forcible compulsion, first-degree sexual abuse of a child under 14, indecent exposure, first-degree unlawful imprisonment, incest and bribing a witness. Those 12 charges stem from incidents that allegedly occurred in the summer of 2018.

Kentucky State Police Detective Scott Caudill testified before the grand jury in all three indictments.

In addition to the charges against Williams, the grand jury has issued two new indictments related to methamphetamines.

The indictments charge Regina Burke, 42, of 2362 HWY 343, Millstone, with one felony and two misdemeanors related to drugs.

According to the indictment, Burke was caught on October 19 in possession of methamphetamine. Charges include: first-degree possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), first offense; possession of a controlled substance (Ticanidine, a muscle relaxant); and public intoxication (controlled substance).

Neon Police Chief Mike Dingus testified in the case.

The other indictment is of John C. Hamilton, 39, of 155 Sunny Point, Jeremiah, who is charged with a single felony count of first-degree possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), first offense. He was also arrested on October 19.

Sergeant Alisha Congleton of the Letcher County Sheriff’s Department testified in the case.

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