On October 7, 2021, a jury found defendant Willis Peter Franklin Jr. guilty of multiple counts of sexual abuse and molestation of female relatives that had been ongoing for decades.

Franklin, 62, was convicted of: continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14, two counts of lewd acts upon a child under 14, forcible oral copulation, forcible rape, two counts of felon in possession of a firearm and felon in possession of ammunition.

The allegations came to light in 2018, when one victim disclosed to her boyfriend at the time that she was being molested. A relative saw a text message regarding the allegation, and the bruises on Jane Doe 1’s face. Eventually Jane Doe 1 was able to fully disclose the abuse to the relative and police. She was 12 years old at the time.

She reported the abuse began when she was between the ages of 3 and 5 years old, and lived with the defendant at the time. She described that the defendant forced her to watch him being orally copulated, among other continuous acts of sexual abuse.

As the investigation continued, additional victims were found. Between the 1980s to 2018, the defendant sexually assaulted and/or molested a total of six female victims. The defendant positioned himself as a central figure in his family—hosting family gatherings and being generous with the children in his care.

The defendant took advantage of another victim, Jane Doe 3, after her father passed away and she became depressed. She was 17 at the time. The defendant would drive her to her therapy sessions appointments. But on the way back, he took her to a motel room where he gave her a soda and pizza. Jane Doe 3 began to feel dizzy, and lose consciousness. She was then sexually assaulted by the defendant. The defendant continued to sexually abuse her over time, until she was in her early 20s.

The abuse of Jane Doe 3, another relative, began when she was 13 years old and occurred again when she was 16.

DDA Nick Homer prosecuted the case, with aid from Victim Witness Advocates Marina Hammergren and Stephanie Lynch. Inspectors Veronica Ibarra and Todd Bergeron also aided in the case.

The defendant is expected to be sentenced on November 23and faces upwards of 45 years to life in prison.

Posted on Oct 8, 2021