Jury Convicts Predatory Rapist

Modified: October 27, 2016 2:15pm

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Acting Erie County District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty, Jr. announces that an Erie County Jury has found 58-year-old Willie Sanders of Buffalo guilty of one count of Predatory Sexual Assault and Attempted Rape in the First Degree for his vicious August 22, 2014 sexual assault of a Buffalo woman. 

On that evening, the survivor was on Adams St. walking home from a friend’s apartment when the defendant punched her in the face multiple times and dragged her to a former school’s empty bleachers where she was raped. The survivor bribed Sanders into stopping, allowing her to flee the schoolyard, leaving behind her shoes, cell phone and personal articles that fell out of her purse during the attack. 

The survivor went to the hospital where she was treated for nasal fractures and extensive contusions to the left side of her face. Det. Adam Stephany of the Buffalo Police Department worked with the survivor, who did not know the defendant, to investigate the crime and ultimately identify Sanders as the assailant. 

Acting District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty praised the bravery and courage of the survivor: “The victim fought back and actively assisted Buffalo Police in bringing this predator to justice.” 

Flaherty went on to praise Det. Stephany for his work on identifying the defendant and conducting the interview that resulted in critical admissions by the defendant and commended Buffalo Police Officer Tommy Champion who searched for and ultimately located the defendant. 

The case was successfully tried by Assistant District Attorneys Ryan Haggerty and Bethany Solek of DA Flaherty’s Special Victim’s Bureau. 

Sanders faces up to 25 years to life in prison when he is sentenced before State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia on December 1, 2016 at 11:00 a.m.