A Hudson Valley man may spend the next two decades in jail for trying to rape a prostitute.

In Orange County Court, Lionel Williams of Port Jervis was sentenced to 18 to 21 years in prison in connection with the attempted rape of a prostitute in Port Jervis.

In May, a jury trial found Williams guilty of attempted rape and two counts of tampering with physical evidence.

During the trial, prosecutors argued that late in the evening on September 16, 2018, Williams sent a text message to a Port Jervis prostitute, arranging to meet her on West Main Street for a sexual encounter. Before the time for the encounter arrived, Williams texted the woman again, canceling the arrangement. Shortly after midnight on September 17, 2018, however, Williams went to the arranged location, where the woman had arrived. Williams followed the woman for several blocks, without her realizing it, before grabbing her from behind, dragging her down an embankment near the Delaware River, and tried to rape her.

Williams then fled the scene. Later, Williams deleted the relevant text messages from his phone and disposed of the clothing he had been wearing at the time of the crime.

“The community will be safer during the two decades that this predator will be in prison,” Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler said. “No woman, man, or child should ever be forced to endure being the victim of a sex crime. My Office will continue to seek significant, appropriate sentences for those who commit sex crimes.”

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