Lawsuit: Tennessee Officers Took Bribes to Protect Alleged Predator

Police officers in Johnson City, Tennessee are accused of taking thousands of dollars in bribes from building contractor Sean Williams to obstruct investigations into allegations that he sexually assaulted multiple women over several years. The police department denies any wrongdoing.

The extortion claims are part of a federal lawsuit accusing Williams of drugging and raping women in the East Tennessee community from 2018 to 2021 while police allegedly failed to properly investigate. Lawyers for nine women, listed as Jane Does 1-9, say there was “either an implied or explicit agreement” that the officers would
protect Williams, allowing him to continue his alleged crimes “with impunity.”

In a May 14 filing, the plaintiffs provided bank records they say support the extortion claims. They allege that Williams’ business partner, referred to as Female 4, opened shell companies and transferred thousands of dollars from Williams’ business to pay $2,000 a week to some Johnson City Police officers, who had also seized cash from Williams’ safe.

Williams is currently in custody facing numerous state and federal charges, including child rape, aggravated sexual battery, production of child sexual abuse material, distribution of cocaine, and escape. Authorities say he kicked out the window of a federal transport van and fled to Florida before being recaptured.

The accused officers and the city deny the allegations, with the city welcoming an investigation to dispel the corruption claims. The local district attorney declined to comment on the extortion accusations, citing an ongoing investigation.

The lawsuit also alleges that Williams’ crimes continued even after one of his alleged victims survived a fall from his fifth-story apartment window in September 2020. Despite evidence of sexual assaults found in his apartment, including a list of names labeled “Raped,” the police allegedly failed to properly investigate or arrest Williams until April 2023.

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