Published On: Fri, Oct 20th, 2023

Bloody inmate accused of 21 sex crimes escapes from prison transport, Tennessee cops say

Bloody inmate accused of 21 sex crimes escapes from prison transport, Tennessee cops say
Bloody inmate accused of 21 sex crimes escapes from prison transport, Tennessee cops say

A manhunt continues for Sean Williams after officials said he escaped during a prison transport from Kentucky to Tennessee.

Williams escaped at around 7:30 a.m. Oct. 18, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and federal agencies have been looking for him since. He is facing 21 charges of sex crimes against children, according to TBI.

As of the afternoon of Oct. 20, the 51-year-old man from Johnson City, Tennessee, has not been located, and officials have not shared additional updates on his possible whereabouts.

The escape

Williams escaped the custody of officers in Greeneville, Tennessee, while being transported to the U.S. district courthouse there, according to the TBI.

His escape came after an 130-mile drive from a jail in Laurel County, Kentucky.

Williams used some part of the van’s headrest to remove his restraints, Jamie Mosley, a jailer at the Laurel County Correctional Center involved in the transport, said in a statement.

Williams was able to “pry the protective screening and force the side window out of the rear of the transport vehicle,” Mosley said.

Then Williams climbed out through the window, the official said.

“He was spotted moments later covered with blood,” Mosley said.

The charges

Williams is wanted on charges including two counts of rape of a child, 16 counts of especially aggravated sex exploitation of a minor and three counts of aggravated sexual battery (under 13), according to the TBI.

He was indicted on three counts of producing child pornography in September, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Tennessee. His trial was set for January in Greeneville.

Each of those three counts carries a minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years in prison if he is found guilty, officials said.

Following Williams’ escape, investigators offered a $2,500 reward for information, but the amount was upped to $7,500 after the search stretched on for days.

Williams is also wanted on a drug-related charge, according to U.S. Marshals.

Williams had previously been accused of other sex crimes dating back to as early as 2018, but no charges were filed against him at the time, the Johnson City Press reported.

A former special assistant U.S. attorney sued Johnson City, saying she lost her job after she tried to press charges against a man, later identified as Williams, according to the Tennessee Lookout.

A group of woman also filed a lawsuit against Johnson City, saying the city failed to investigate reports that Williams had repeatedly drugged and raped women, the Tennessee Lookout reported.

A city audit completed in July found the police department’s investigations into the reports were “inconsistent, ineffective and incomplete,” according to a news release from Johnson City.

TBI shared that Williams will also now face a federal escape charge.

Identifying Williams

Williams is 5’11” and weighs about 170 pounds, the Greene County Sheriff’s Office shared.

At the time of his escape in downtown Greenville, he was wearing light tan “jail-type” clothes and has a shaved head, deputies said. TBI also shared photos of three tattoos on his left arm and hand.

This isn’t Williams’ first time trying to escape either, according to officials.

“Williams is desperate to escape custody and has attempted previously,” U.S. Marshals said.

Anyone who sees Williams is urged to use caution and call 911 immediately.

Greeneville is in Northeast Tennessee about 70 miles northeast of Knoxville.

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