William Pedersen, a 63-year-old resident of 9 Wheaton Lane in Palm Coast accused of raping and molesting a close relative younger than 12, pleaded down the accusations to one count of lewd and lascivious molestation of a child younger than 15 in Flagler Circuit Court this afternoon.
He had faced life in prison if found guilty under the previous charges. Circuit Judge J. David Walsh sentenced him to two years in prison followed by 10 years’ sex-offender probation. Pedersen will be branded a sex offender for the rest of his life. A state prosecutor explained that the plea agreement”was basically to keep the victim from having to testify at trial.”
The rape charge was dropped in the plea agreement, and the lewd and lascivious charge was changed from applying to a child younger than 12–a first-degree felony–to one applying to a child younger than 15, a second-degree felony.
Pedersen, who was represented by attorney Michael Lambert, arrived in court with a woman and sat among the audience until his case was called. During his plea, he spoke repeatedly in whispers to Lambert, apparently to clarify proceedings. None of the terms of the agreement were changed. He was then finger=printed, handcuffed, submitted to a DNA swab, then taken into custody.
Pedersen’s arrest report states that the alleged rapes and lewd and lascivious acts took place between 2004 and 2010, when the girl was between the ages of 5 and 12.
The girl told investigators in a 2013 interview that when she would visit her relatives’ house, Pedersen would take her to a spare bedroom he called his “man cave,” have her sit on his lap and molest her. It would make her feel uncomfortable, but she never told her parents because she was scared that Pedersen would get upset.
When the girl was 8 or 9, he would give her wine coolers to drink. The girl didn’t know what the drinks were at the time, but she remembers that after being made to drink them she would feel weird. He would have her go into the “man cave,” and as she’d be lying on the ground, watching television, he used his fingers to rape her. She stopped him because of the pain and walked away. Pedersen would tell her not to tell anyone.
In January 2014, authorities conducted a controlled phone call with Pedersen–meaning that one of the parties, apparently the victim, was recording it. She asked Pedersen if he could be honest about all that had happened. “I’ve gotta do what I’ve gotta do. I think this has been blown out of proportions,” Pedersen said. He went on to say that he didn’t think that whatever he’d done was done intentionally, and that it should have been forgotten about. But he conceded that it was a bad situation.
The victim told Pedersen that she’d been thinking about it all and wanted it to go away but did not want to be silent about it anymore. Pedersen told her that if the matter went to court, “it will be nasty,” according to the paraphrase reported in the arrest affidavit, and that it would make everyone look bad. He tried to persuade the victim to change her story “so they could settle the situation between them,” but the victim told him she was not going to lie anymore.
A warrant for Pedersen’s arrest was issued on Jan. 3, 2014, on a count of raping a child younger than 12, a capital felony, and a count of lewd and lascivious molestation on a child younger than 12, a life felony. Pedersen was arrested in Collier County as a fugitive from justice four days later. He posted bail on $100,000 bond the same day and was released.
Two years?? That means he’ll be out in six months.. This sleeze ball shoud be put away for life. What a wonderful system we have.. I wonder who he knew?????????????????????????
Palm Compton is really starting to give me the creeps.
He arrived in court with his WIFE? smh
This kind of crap happens everywhere & our justice system sucks!! They’re all puppets being paid by the criminals for a lesser charge
Nancy N. says
M&M – Under Florida state law all prison inmates have to serve AT LEAST 85% of their sentence. So unless he has credit from time he sat in jail before being sentenced, he will by law have to serve a minimum of 1.7 years from the day he was sentenced.
Blondee – Denial is a powerful thing, and abusers get away with what they do because they are powerful manipulators. Put those two together, and what you get is a stunning number of convicted child molesters in our state’s prisons being visited every week by devoted wives and girlfriends. I’ve witnessed it first-hand, and it’s very creepy.
Anonymous – That’s a ridiculous accusation. Do you understand the number of people that would have to be complicit for a criminal to buy their way out of a charge? The judge, prosecutor, and victim ALL have to approve a plea deal. Unfortunately, deals like this are common in sex crimes cases when the victim is reluctant to testify or may be too traumatized to testify effectively. A guaranteed 2 years and a sex offender designation is better than nothing. Should they lock this guy up and throw away the key? Absolutely. But if there was a risk this guy could walk, this result is better than nothing as the conviction and sex offender designation will help guarantee he won’t get close to any more kids. Plus, with TEN YEARS of sex offender probation to do – which is insanely strict – there’s a very good chance he’ll end up back behind bars again. PO’s don’t give sex offenders an inch of leeway.
Ron R. says
I can understand pleading down to avoid having the victim testify, but dropping from a life sentence to 2 years seems extremely excessive. Someone gave away the store here.
Nancy don’t lecture me. This slime ball should NEVER see daylight again. What would you say if it were your child????????
Nothing wrong with being lectured.
If you post on a public site, learn to accept replies, whether you like it or not.
Nancy N. says
My comment to you was a simple fact check on your statement that he would be out in 6 months and not an expression of approval of the time involved. Please note that later in my comment I expressed that I also felt this guy should never walk the streets again.
I don’t have to imagine “what I would say if it were my child”. I’ve been a victim myself. Guys like this should rot in a deep dark hole.
The state prosecutor’s office is known for nothing if not being tough on crime. No way they let a child sex offense case walk with a light sentence out of generosity, especially since they knew how it would play in the media with the voters. We don’t know what was going on behind the scenes in this case. If they made this guy this deal, there must have been some major issues with the case.
Wow, just 2 years for destroying the life, mentally anyway, of a young innocent girl. Maybe our lawmakers should raise the minimum penalties.
With the high number of sex offense cases and registered sex offenders, in Palm Coast, Flagler and Volusia counties , maybe a special investigative team should be appointed with some grant money like they get for DUI checkpoints. Top notch specialized investigators might lead to stronger cases and more prison time for these criminals.
Or simply call it the sunshine state, great place to retire especially if you are a pedophile.
In other countries, these convicts are the first to be beheaded during the prison riots. Justice?
Resident Evil says
There are people from this county in state prison doing more time then that for no drivers license and failure to pay child support.
David S says
Wait till the boys get a hold of him they hate child molesters.
Does anyone remember where this guy worked, i remember the face i just can not place it ?
Jim I was thinking the same thing, he looks very familiar.
It is a shame that our system sees two years as a sufficient time for these crimes. My heart goes out to the victim and her family.
Thanks john thats where i saw him the store in bunnell.