SEARCH

Entries in Ernest Willis (2)

Tuesday
Sep062011

Former Church Member Ernest Willis Sentenced to Prison for Rape

Photos dot com/Jupiterimages(CONCORD, N.H.) -- A New Hampshire judge Tuesday sentenced former Baptist church member Ernest Willis to 15 to 30 years in prison for the forcible rape of a teenage girl from his church who got pregnant as a result.

The case made national headlines because the victim, Tina Anderson, said she was forced to confess her "sin" -- the pregnancy -- in front of the congregation at Trinity Baptist Church, an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church (IFB) in Concord, N.H.

The church's then-pastor, Chuck Phelps, helped arrange for Anderson to move thousands of miles away from home to live with an IFB family and give her child up for adoption.

On Tuesday, it was Willis' turn to apologize before he was sentenced.

Ernest Willis, 52, of Gilford said he was "sorry and ashamed for this thoughtless act of sexual misconduct." But in his lengthy statement he did not admit he forcibly raped the girl.

Listening by telephone from Arizona, Anderson, now 29, said she was "thrilled" with the sentence.

Willis was arrested in 2010. A jury convicted him in May of three counts of forcible rape and a count of felonious sexual assault. His lawyers say he will appeal those convictions.

Before his trial in May, Willis pleaded guilty to one count of statutory rape. He maintained they had consensual sex on one occasion only, but acknowledged the girl was under the legal age of consent.

Willis remained stoic as the judge sent him to prison for a minimum of 15 years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
May272011

New Hampshire Man Found Guilty of Rape of Tina Anderson

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(CONCORD, N.H.) -- Ernest Willis, a New Hampshire man accused of raping and fathering a child with a 15-year-old girl from his church in 1997, was found guilty Friday of three counts of forcible rape and a count of felonious sexual assault.

Willis' case drew national headlines because his victim, Tina Anderson, who gave an exclusive interview to 20/20 last month, said she was forced to confess her "sin" -- the pregnancy -- in front of their congregation at Trinity Baptist Church, an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church (IFB) in Concord, N.H. The church's then-pastor, Chuck Phelps, helped arrange for Anderson to move thousands of miles away from home to live with an IFB family and give her child up for adoption.

Willis, 51, faces 10 to 20 years in jail, in addition to up to 7 years on a statutory rape charge. Willis pleaded guilty to statutory rape days before the trial began but maintained that the sex was consensual.

His four-day trial included testimony from Anderson, now 29; her mother, Christine Leaf; Phelps and Willis himself.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio