Crime

Former probation officer convicted of raping ex-convict

Former North Carolina probation officer Willie Steele was sentenced to at least 12 years in state prison on Wednesday after being convicted of raping an ex-convict he was supervising.

A jury found Steele guilty of two counts of second-degree rape and two counts of sexual activity by a custodian, according to a news release from the Mecklenburg District Attorney’s Office. He was sentenced to 12 to 16 years in state prison. Steele, 50, was already serving two years in federal prison after being convicted in 2013 of violating the civil rights of the victim.

According to documents from state and federal investigators, Steele first met with the victim at his office in June 2008. He told her she needed to take him to her apartment so he could confirm that she lived where she was supposed to. Once there, Steele implied that he would have her jailed unless she agreed to have sex.

The second meeting was at Steele’s office, according to a copy of Steele’s termination letter from the State Department of Corrections. Again the two had sex. Afterward, Steele gave the woman two pieces of paper from his desk so she could clean herself, the letter says.

When she was done, both pieces held Steele’s DNA. She threw only one away.

Before her next scheduled meeting with the probation officer, the victim contacted Charlotte attorney James Ferguson. He took her accusations to the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office.

On Nov. 12, 2008, the woman turned over the piece of paper from her encounter with Steele to an agent of the State Bureau of Investigation, records indicate. It turned out to be a probation document for another person assigned to Steele, and contained a stain with Steele’s DNA.

Steele’s victim testified at his trial.

Wootson: 704-358-5046;

Twitter: @CleveWootson

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