NASCAR driver agent charged with rape UPDATE #5 Public Relations representative for Petty Enterprises and former NASCAR PR Manager of Communications, Richard Norman "Chip" Williams, was sentenced in Federal Court for sexual abuse of a minor. U.S. District Court Judge William Osteen Sr. sentenced Williams to 26 years and stated "This, by far, involves more torture and forms of activity than the court has ever seen in a case of this nature."
Williams, 49, started his relationship with a girl on the internet when she was only eleven years old, was arrested in January 2006 in a sting operated by the Guilford County Sheriff's Office. He was charged in federal court with using a computer to entice a child into sexual activity and coercing a minor into sexual activity for the purpose of making pornography. In December, Williams plead guilty to charges of sexual abuse of a minor, enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity and sexual exploitation of a child. He still faces additional charges from the state of North Carolina.
Williams read a prepared statement, apologizing for the pain he has caused the victim and the damage to his own family. "I am sorry," Williams said. "I am so sorry for what I've done and the humiliation I've brought into the lives of so many people." He also apologized to his wife and two sons, ages 11 and 15. It was widely reported that Williams may have had sexual contact with as many as 50 underage girls and boys. 12/16/06 Former NASCAR spokesman Richard "Chip" Williams agreed to plead guilty to child sex charges, according to federal court documents filed Friday.
Williams, 49, signed a plea agreement acknowledging that he is guilty of sexual abuse of a minor, enticement of a minor and sexual exploitation of a child, the agreement says. He will be sentenced later and could face up to 75 years in prison.
The plea agreement says the law requires him to serve at least five years on the enticement of a minor charge and at least 15 years on the sexual exploitation charge.
Williams, who was NASCAR's spokesman from 1982 until he resigned in 1994 to start his own business, was arrested in January in an Internet child-predator sting.
He also was charged with rape in a case involving a 15-year-old girl.
The girl told police she had been having sex over three years with a man she knew as "John Wisham" -- the identity police say Williams used online.
Court documents say the girl chatted with John Wisham under authorities' supervision and he "became very explicit with the victim and talked freely about wanting to have numerous sexual exploits with very young males and females." Charlotte Observer02/02/06 Bond for a former NASCAR publicist charged with raping a child and soliciting a minor for sex over the Internet has been raised from $1 million to $2 million. Richard "Chip" Williams, 48, had his bond increased following a first appearance in a Greensboro court on Wednesday. He answered a judge's questions from a jail cell.
Williams was arrested Tuesday morning in the parking lot of a Guilford County church, where authorities said he had arranged over the Internet to meet who he believed was a 14-year-old girl for sex.
He is also charged with repeatedly raping a girl, now 15, whom he met on the Internet when she was 11.
State and federal agents confiscated computers from Williams' business Tuesday. Guilford County Sheriff B.J. Barnes has said he expects additional charges against Williams.
WSOC-TV in Charlotte reported that in an online conversation with a person Williams believed was a 14-year-old girl - but who was actually a law-enforcement agent - he bragged of having relationships with 40 to 50 children.
Barnes has said his department began investigating Williams - who used the online name "John Wisham" - after receiving a tip about his long-term relationship with the 15-year-old. AP Wire 02/02/06 Williams doesn't have a criminal history in North Carolina, according to court records. Phone calls to his home and friends were not returned. Jeff Dennison, who works for Williams as a public relations agent for Petty Enterprises, declined to comment.
The FBI, State Bureau of Investigation, Guilford County Sheriff's Office and Greensboro Police are still investigating the case. FBI spokesman Ken Lucas said investigators are considering additional charges.
Police are currently examining Williams' computers at home and work. Williams, of the 100 block of Babbling Brook Road, remained at Guilford County Jail under a $1 million bond late Tuesday. His first court appearance is scheduled for today.
Williams was NASCAR's spokesman from 1982 until March 1, 1994, when he resigned to start his own business. Williams Company of America Inc. currently represents drivers such as John Andretti, Kyle Petty and Bobby Labonte.
Barnes said there was no indication that any of those drivers "had a clue" about Williams' alleged conduct.
According to the investigation, Williams met the first girl in Greensboro at least five times in the past couple years, said Barnes, declining to say exactly when or where the meetings occurred. Police opened the case a few days ago, he said, declining to give more details.
In the solicitation case, Barnes said, Williams exchanged "very graphic and sexually explicit" content through an online chat room with someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl.
Authorities unexpectedly moved up their sting Tuesday because Williams wanted to meet the teen earlier than planned, Barnes said. "He got a little aggressive with the undercover person and wanted to come immediately," Barnes said. "He wanted her to skip school." Police arrested Williams after he looked for the girl in the church parking lot and then left, Barnes said. More at Charlotte Observer
02/01/06 A reader writes, Wow, you can bet NASCAR will try to sweep this story under the rug real fast. Bobby Washington, Atlanta
01/31/06 Former NASCAR spokesman Richard N. (Chip) Williams, who represents several drivers through his own company, was arrested Tuesday on rape charges involving an 11-year-old girl.
Williams was arrested in Greensboro and faces one count of statutory rape, first-degree rape offense of a child and solicitation of child by computer to commit an unlawful sex act.
The first two counts relate to the 11-year-old girl who is now 15, said Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes. The last count resulted after Williams met with an undercover police officer Tuesday in a church parking lot, thinking he was meeting a 14-year-old girl, Barnes said.
More charges, including federal ones, are expected, said FBI spokesman Ken Lucas.
Williams is at Guilford County Jail under a $1 million bond.
Williams worked for NASCAR from 1982 until March 1, 1994, when he resigned to start his own business. Williams Company of America Inc. currently represents drivers such as John Andretti, Kyle Petty and Bobby Labonte. Charlotte Observer