A former youth detention center counselor here Friday pleaded guilty to having sex and engaging in other sexual acts with an 18-year-old inmate she was counseling at the facility last year.
The four episodes, which occurred in late April 2021, were recorded by a security camera overlooking a counselor’s desk at the Milledgeville Youth Development Campus.
Gray’s counselor, Lorenda Denise Williamson, 54, has been employed by the state’s Juvenile Justice Department since 2014, where she helps young people deal with mental health and substance abuse issues. rice field.
After pleading guilty to four counts of first-degree sexual contact by an employee or agent in Baldwin County Superior Court on Friday, Williamson was sentenced to five years in prison followed by a 20-year suspended sentence. I was.
Prosecutors had asked Judge Amanda S. Petty to sentence Williamson to 10 years in prison for illegally encountering a teenage boy whom Williamson was counseling as a social service provider.
After a fellow YDC employee noticed that Williamson and the teenager were excessively playful or making “inappropriate contact,” which could include kissing, investigators ordered Williamson to After reviewing security footage from his office, he discovered sexual activity.
The teen later said he and Williamson had had a sexual relationship in the months leading up to the discovery. It happened while in custody – yet such contact is forbidden.
Prosecutor Nancy Scott Moscury told the court on Friday, “He said they both knew the camera was in (Williamson’s) office.” He even said that if he cared what was on the camera, he would have destroyed it, but apparently he didn’t. did not.”
Williamson sobbed at times while testifying on Friday.
She said she had “problems” with her marriage in 2020 and 2021. He said he was pursuing.
“My home life was terrible,” she said. …Before, it was easy for her to say (to him), “One day I’m going to get out of here, meet someone, and have a good life.” …but he continued to comment and…it was kind of hard to say no (to him) anymore. “
A native of Macon, Williamson majored in criminal justice in college as an undergraduate. She later completed her master’s degree. She said she has been working at a local restaurant for a living since forming her bond after her arrest last summer, she said, with her daughter and her three grandchildren. I moved and said I was helping support them.
Referring to her relationship with the incarcerated teenager, Williamson said, “I resisted this young man for two years,” but eventually she said, “All the insight and all the I lost my judgment.
Prosecutor Moscury later asked Williamson if he was blaming the victim.
Williamson said no.
“For two years you have been speaking in this court that a young man in YDC custody is reaching out to you…and you may need to tell someone that the young man is beating you. I had no idea, to you?” Moscury said.
Williamson said other people she worked with had noticed the playful behavior and occasionally joked about it. I couldn’t name anyone I knew.
“You liked being the center of attention… did you?” the prosecutor asked.
“Only then,” Williamson replied, raising the marital problem again.
Moskaly referenced the video that exposed Williamson’s crimes.
“In some of them,” Moscury said, “you’re laughing, aren’t you?”
“are you having fun?”
“Did you realize there’s a camera over your head recording all this?”
“Did you want to get caught?” Moscury asked.
“No, ma’am,” Williamson replied, later adding, “I wasn’t thinking clearly.”
Williamson’s attorney, J. Travis Griffin, told the judge that Williamson’s relationship with the teen was “an anomaly in her life.”
“She made a mistake,” said Griffin. “She made a terrible mistake. I think…but like the nature of the criminal charges, this is what defined her. Her life as she knew it before this incident was completely over.