LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A level three sex offender is facing new charges after police say he was volunteering for a youth mentoring program operated by Little Rock police officers.
“The system failed,” says Bishop Steven Womack.
Womack is talking about Earl Williams, 64, a father who’s lost three sons to violence and a level three sex offender.
“I hope this mistake doesn’t continue,” says Bishop Womack.
Williams has been volunteering the last six years with the OK program, our “Our Kids”, a nationally-adopted model implemented by Little Rock and run by Little Rock police officers.
Court records show Williams served time on a 2002 rape conviction which put him on the sex offender’s registry. Williams is classified as a level three offender, which means ‘High Risk’.
Judge Marion Humphrey is the Chair of the OK Program Little Rock Chapter and a friend of Williams.
“He’s concerned about these kids in our community,” says Judge Humphrey. “His heart is in working with these kids and helping them, motivating them, steering them in a different direction. “
Williams’ arrest report shows he was booked into the Pulaski County Jail February 22. He’s facing two felony charges of being an offender and working with children and being an offender on a school campus.
Judge Humphrey says there have been no reports of misconduct during Williams’ time with the program.
The judge says he didn’t know Williams’ sex offender’s status meant he was unable to work with youth because he says the victim from 2002 is an adult.
“I’m a personal friend so I was aware but I wasn’t aware that that status prevented him from doing any work around children,” says Judge Humphrey.
Leaving Bishop Womack wondering how this was missed for several years.
“Rape is rape. There’s no such thing as a good rape or a bad rape. It’s just rape,” says Bishop Womack.
Court records show Williams has pleaded not guilty.
Judge Humphrey says Williams has stepped away from the program.
The Little Rock School District released the following statement:
“As you may be aware, LRSD partners with the Little Rock Police Department’s “Our Kids” (OK ) program. Today, we learned of the investigation of one their volunteers for an incident not related to LRSD, who previously worked with students on Saturdays.
OK is administered by LRPD at four of our campuses and they conduct their own background checks. We are told the past behavior of the individual related to an adult, not minors. Police tell us they have no reason to believe that any of our students who participate in the OK program were impacted during their limited, but supervised interaction with the individual.
OK administrators have informed us the individual no longer volunteers with their program and say he was only on Dunbar’s campus on Saturdays; however, we will continue to work with LRPD as they conduct a full investigation. Please know that the safety and security of all our students remains a top priority for the Dunbar administration and LRSD. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Ms. Thrasher’s office.”
In the interest of full disclosure, Williams appeared in KARK’s Victory over Violence commercials but when we learned of his past conviction the commercials were pulled from our air.