By Kevin Kelley

Westlake

A 39-year-old Westlake man was sentenced Nov. 25 to life in prison after being convicted of sexually assaulting three young girls for seven years.

The previous week, a Cuyahoga County jury found William Waters guilty of 37 total counts related to sexual assaults prosecutors said Waters committed between 2007 and 2014. Williams was found guilty of 10 counts of rape, 14 counts of kidnapping, five counts of gross sexual imposition, one count of attempted rape, five counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity oriented material and two counts of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor. Many of the counts included sexually violent predator and sexual motivation specifications.

The jury also returned not guilty verdicts on many of the roughly five dozen counts Waters was indicted on.

Because one of Waters’ victims was under the age of 10 at the time he assaulted her and Waters was found to be a Sexually Violent Predator, he faced a mandatory life sentence without parole.

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Visiting Judge Michael J. Corrigan sentenced Waters to an additional 48 years to life in prison, to be served prior to and consecutively to the life without parole sentence.

“As a result of the courage of the young victims in this case, along with the hard work of the Westlake Police Department, this violent predator will never hurt another child again,” Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Margaret Troia said in a statement.

Waters was arrested in October 2014 by U.S. Marshals after fleeing to Arkansas. Before his trial, prosecutors said they discovered that he wrote a coded message to his mother, 64-year-old Cheryl Waters, outlining a plan to escape jail with her help. The message was decoded in March, the prosecutor’s office said. Waters’ bond was raised to $10 million following this discovery.

In July, Cheryl Waters pleaded guilty to a charge of obstructing justice, and her sentencing hearing is scheduled for Monday, according to court records.

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