He raped an 8-year-old girl in 1984 and served four years in prison. He has now pleaded guilty to the 2016 rape of a 12-year-old girl. But for some reason the prosecutor agreed to plea bargain with William Dixon this time around agreeing he would go back to prison for only three years. Unconscionable in my book.
But this is the way justice is often meted out these days. Hammer out a plea with the perp’s lawyer and spare taxpayers the cost of a trial – even if the punishment doesn’t match the crime.
With his past sodomy conviction and now his latest guilty plea Dixon can rightfully be called a serial child rapist. And he would have been walking free again — to do God knows what — sometime in the year 2020. Except the past has now caught up with Mr. Dixon.
When he pleaded guilty to the 2016 sexual assault he was automatically required to give a DNA sample under a New York law (passed in 2002) requiring all convicts to submit to a swab test. Their DNA is then stored in the FBI’s national data base call CODIS.
Authorities ran Dixon’s DNA sample through CODIS last year not knowing what – if anything they might find – and guess what? His DNA matched evidence from a rape kit gathered from an 11-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted at knife point way back in February 1993!
Suddenly, Dixon was tied to not one or two but three very similar sexual attacks on young girls. Makes one wonder what other sex crimes Dixon might have committed over the years. There are years-long gaps in the Dixon crime timeline. Are we to believe he completely behaved himself between these three random sex crimes? That no other children were made into victims by his hand?
To my mind it is great news that this man has finally been taken off the streets, probably for a lot longer than just three years.
But, here’s the infuriating part. That poor little 11-year-old submitted to an evasive hospital rape exam right after her 1993 assault. Then, her rape kit sat on a shelf, unprocessed, for nine years. Nine years.
Finally, in 2002, about the same time New York was passing that mandatory DNA-from-every-convict law, this tiny victim’s rape kit found its way to a forensic lab. Her attacker’s DNA was extracted and that forensic profile was registered in the national data base to see if there was a match. There was not.
William Dixon was out of prison and walking the streets in 2002. At that time his DNA wasn’t on file anywhere. It would take another 14 years before science caught up with Dixon. 14 years and a least one more young victim.
It’s not like law enforcement didn’t want to find the predator. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office had been trying to identify the man responsible for the 11-year-old’s attack for years. In 2003, as prosecutors were racing against the 10-year statute of limitations deadline on the case, they got a grand jury to issue a rape indictment against her “John Doe” DNA profile. In other words, they indicted the unknown person who belonged to the DNA. The limitations clock stopped and all they could do was wait.
Fast forward to 2016. Dixon entered his guilty plea and had to submit to that swab test. Finally the system had both his name and his DNA! A routine pass through the CODIS system spit out a match to the evidence gathered from the 11 year-old in 1993. Bingo.
Today, that victim is in her mid-30’s. She likely will never forget having her woolen hat pulled down over her eyes, being dragged to the rooftop of her apartment building with a knife to her throat and all those unspeakable things that were done to her. But I hope she now has hope that justice is on the way.
It depends on what the system does now with William Dixon. He has been arraigned in Manhattan Supreme Court on sodomy charges once again and is being held without bail. When I contacted his lawyer asking what Dixon’s plea might be his attorney said, “No comment” and hung up.
Will the same District Attorney’s office who handled the 1989 case, the 1993 case and the 2016 case offer another plea agreement to this man? If they do there is something very, very wrong with our justice system.
This case is yet another clarion call to every state to figure out a way to test their backlogged DNA rape kits, like, today. Find the money. Do this. Victims deserve it. Justice depends on it.