Ex-USD football player accused of rape gets plea deal

A former University of South Dakota football player who was accused of raping a woman in her dorm room has pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of aggravated assault and been sentenced to 10 years of probation

Dale Williamson Jr., of Texarkana, Texas, entered the plea Monday. A no contest plea isn't an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing. He also must pay nearly $1,400 in restitution to the victim, the Argus Leader reported.

Prosecutor Alexis Tracy told the court that Williamson went into the victim's dorm room while she was sleeping, "pinned her down," and raped her. The victim woke up, pushed him off of her, grabbed her phone and ran to the bathroom, she said.

"This matter has changed her forever," Tracy said.

Judge Tami Bern didn't consider certain details about the attack that Tracy offered during the hearing because she said Williamson was not being sentenced for a sex crime. Bern did say, however, that Williamson, 23, was in an environment that made him feel "entitled to sexual exploitation," and "I find that abhorrent."

Tracy did not comment Tuesday on why prosecutors allowed Williamson to plead to a lesser, non-sex-related charge. She did tell The Associated Press that victim credibility and Williamson's acquittal in the other case were not factors.

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Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com