Former police officer Colonel Willis, 50, will be locked up behind bars for 4 years and 11 months for gross sexual imposition stemming from an ongoing relationship he had with a 13-year-old girl for more than two years.
In an emotional hearing Thursday, the girl's mother and Willis' reverend both pleaded with the judge to give Willis probation, saying he has shown remorse for what he did.
“I know Colonel and I know he’s sorry,” the girl’s mother said as she read from a written statement, her voice wavering. “I wouldn’t consider him a threat to society ... he made a huge mistake he’ll have to live with for the rest of his life.”
She said Willis has been supporting her family financially throughout the ordeal.
Prosecutor Russ Leffler argued that the ongoing abuse was more than a brief lapse in judgment, lasting for more than two years.
As a former police officer, “he knows what this kind of behavior can do to human beings,” Leffler said. “A five-year sentence would assure he’s away until the child is 18. I think she’s entitled to that protection, and it seems clear that the family is not going to offer that protection.”
Willis worked at the Monroeville, Norwalk and New London police departments in different capacities during the past 21 years.
To read the story behind the charges and indictment, click HERE.