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Sex Offender, 79, Flees Court Just Before Child Rape Conviction


Sex Offender, 79, Flees Court Just Before Child Rape Conviction (Benton County Sheriff's Office)

A 79-year-old Montana man facing child rape charges fled the courtroom moments before he was to become a convicted sex offender, officials said Friday.

An attorney for William Nicol reportedly told him he was likely to be found guilty based on questions posed to the court by a jury in Benton County, Oregon, as his child rape case wound to a close last week.

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That's when Nicol asked to use the restroom, officials told the Tri-City Herald. He never came back.

Nicol was not in the courtroom when he was subsequently convicted of two counts of first-degree child rape and one count of first-degree child molestation.

Prosecutors argued that Nicol was in a position of trust when he molested a grade-school boy for at least four years.

During the trial, Nicol denied the allegations, saying the boy was lying.

A court security guard reportedly spotted Nicol walking out of the building, then running toward the parking lot.

U.S. Marshals joined the search along with the Benton County Sheriff's Office. Montana law enforcement has also been notified in case Nicol attempts to return to his home there.

Read: 3 Boys Arrested for Trying to Rape 12-Year-Old Schoolmate in Basement Stairwell

Though previously out on bond, a Benton County judge ordered Nicol held without bond once he's arrested.

Strangely enough, Nicol's was the third sex case defendant in two years to run away just before or during trial in Benton County, according to the Tri-City Herald.

The other two have reportedly still have not been captured and may have left the country.

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