Juneau man pleads guilty to rape

A 49-year-old Juneau man in court on Thursday admitted raping a woman in Marine Park last summer.

Gilbert Charles Willard pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual assault in Juneau Superior Court, a felony punishable by five to 15 years in prison. He will be sentenced at a later date.

Prosecutors say Willard raped the 28-year-old woman, who was passed out from alcohol and unaware that the assault was taking place. The case arose when a witness saw Willard “sexually grope” the woman in the park about 1:30 a.m. and reported it to police.

Willard was still on scene when police arrived and arrested on the spot. He and the victim did not know each other.

He was later charged with second-degree and third-degree assault for the Aug. 23 incident. Both of those crimes include engaging in sexual penetration with an incapacitated victim. A plea deal reached with prosecutors dismissed the less-serious third-degree assault charge.

Sentencing is slated for June 11 and will be open to the court. State law will require Willard to register as a sex offender for the next 15 years.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.


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