52-year old Willet man pleads guilty to rape charge

(Photo Source: Kevin L. Smith:The Cortland Voice)

A 52-year old Town of Willet man pleaded guilty to a second-degree rape (a Class-D Felony) charge in Cortland County Court on Tuesday.

Eric B. Worsell was arrested twice over the summer and faced multiple sex crime charges that stemmed from “inappropriate sexual contact” with a young female victim over a few years, according to a Cortland County Sheriff’s Office report.

Worsell originally pleaded not guilty to the plethora of charges against him, including forcible touching (a Class-A Misdemeanor), second-degree rape (a Class-D Felony), second-degree criminal sex act (a Class-D Felony), endangering the welfare of a child (a Class-A Misdemeanor), third-degree criminal sex act (a Class-E Felony) and third-degree rape (a Class-E Felony).

The 52-year old Willet resident, however, agreed to plead guilty to second-degree rape in county court earlier this week. According to court documents, the charge is made when an individual that is 18 years or older unlawfully has intercourse with a person less than 15 years old.

The sex abuse investigation from the county sheriff’s office this past summer noted Worsell had “inappropriate sexual contact” with the victim between 2019 and this year. Assistant district attorney Jessica Weyant mentioned in county court on Tuesday that the incidents most notably took place between September and December 2019.

The plea agreement makes Worsell a first felony offender. He is also required to register as a sex offender and to agree to a stay-away order of protection for the victim.

Weyant noted in the plea agreement that sentencing of five years in prison and 10 years of post-release supervision is recommended for Worsell. 

Weyant also mentioned that the victim agreed with the recommended sentencing, but wishes Worsell “would be sentenced to more time in prison.”

Worsell is scheduled for sentencing at 10 a.m. Jan. 24.