Ex-Alabama officer convicted of raping teen denied bond

Birmingham Police Lt. Peter Williston (Jefferson County Jail) via ABC 33/40

A judge denied the bond request of a former Birmingham police officer convicted of raping a teen relative.

Posted: Mar 31, 2020 4:34 PM

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A judge has denied any release on bond for a former Alabama police lieutenant convicted of raping a teen relative after his sentencing hearing was delayed by the coronavirus outbreak.

On Monday, Circuit Judge Stephen Wallace denied the motion requesting that Birmingham Police Lt. Pete Williston be released on bond while awaiting his hearing, news outlets reported.

Williston's attorney Scott Harwell said Williston is in solitary confinement and although the former officer has told his family he is in “good mental spirits” he would “improve if he could return home.”

Jefferson County Deputy District Attorney Jessica Hebson opposed the proposed release, saying Williston posed a threat to the public and members of his household. Hebson also said that since Williston could be facing 20 or more years in prison, he could be a flight risk if released.

Williston was initially scheduled to be sentenced April 3 but the hearing was postponed because of virus-related court delays. The hearing is now set for May 29.

A jury took 30 minutes to convict Williston of first-degree rape in February.

Prosecutors said Williston used his authority over the teen and forced her to have sex with him. The victim testified that Williston made her break up with a boy and told her if she was going to have sex, she would have sex with him. The victim said Williston sexually abused her from 2008 to 2011, starting when she was 14.

Williston admitted to having sex with the victim. Williston's attorney argued that the victim was 16 years old at the time and that the sex was consensual.

“I recognize it was disgusting and inappropriate,” Williston previously said. “I was an adult. I should have known better.”

Williston was a 17-year veteran of the Birmingham Police Department, whose service included stints as an interim commander in a precinct station and as a police spokesman. He was arrested in June 2018.

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