|Pathology|| Serial rapist|
|First Appearance||Her Negotiation|
William Lewis is a serial rapist, kidnapper, and sadist, described as one of the most heinous rapists encountered by SVU in recent years.
A profligate con man, he has maintained over half a dozen aliases, thus even his name "Lewis Williams" isn't entirely certain. Lewis managed to slip through the cracks of the justice system through a series of compound errors which he ruthlessly exploited. Particularly, he took advantage of police mishearing or misspelling his name to move from state to state across the country without his criminal record following him, i.e. records for "William Lewis", "William Lucas", or "Louis William" - which didn't follow him when he moved.
For lack of a better term, Lewis is not simply a serial rapist but a professional rapist, devoting his entire lifestyle to being a sexual predator. Some serial rapists try to maintain the outward appearance of a normal lifestyle and occupation, but Williams is simply a delinquent with no alternative persona. Lewis carries no personal ID and keeps no track of his public records, so it is difficult to track his previous life, and may be impossible to discover the full extent of his past criminal activities. Lewis wanders around from state to state, restarting in a new location where he can find new sexual prey. He even went so far as to physically burn off his fingerprints, making it extremely difficult to track him in police databases.
William Lewis is an exceedingly dangerous serial rapist, and while he doesn't typically try to outright murder people (unless backed into a corner), the brutal extent of his crimes shocked even the SVU. Lewis does not apparently intend to kill his victims, therefore while one died as a result of his rape and torture this may not have been his direct intent. Lewis' preferred modus operandi is to not simply rape victims quickly, but to kidnap them and hold them prisoner, while horrifically torturing them sexually.
For example, in his most recent attack the SVU arrested him for, he held an elderly sixty year old woman prisoner at gunpoint, tied her up, then proceeded to torture her sexually for over eighteen hours: this included raping her vaginally, orally, and anally, as well as heating up metal objects such as keys and coat-hangers on her stove, then using them to brand her breasts and genitals. Lewis is not simply a rapist, but a consummate sadist.
While not yet given an official psychological profile, Lewis appears to be an extreme psychopath and narcissist. Somewhat like famous serial killer Ted Bundy, half the fun for him isn't just in raping and torturing his victims - but in running circles around the police and taunting them about it. Even as Lewis was being interrogated, when he phrased his confession as a hypothetical scenario, he could have simply kept his mouth shut, but instead openly gloated about it. The real pleasure actually seemed to be from the squirming looks on the SVU officers' faces, knowing that their hands were tied and they couldn't legally use a confession he was making even as the words were coming out of his mouth, because he prefaced it with the hypothetical "if".
Moreover, fitting the common psychological profile of psychopathy, Lewis is cocky, arrogant, and self-centered, while at the same time seeming to honestly not understand why other people are upset with him. Throughout his interrogation and trial, even as a mountain of evidence was presented against him, Lewis would honestly ask why the police weren't giving him the benefit of the doubt, or where was the sympathy he should have received. It isn't clear if he honestly believed this himself - given that psychopaths have no sense of shame - or if this was simply him taunting the police yet again, pointing out that the burden of proof is on them and he is innocent until proven guilty. Moreover, during the investigation Lewis became obsessed with Detective Benson in particular, convincing himself that she must be obsessed with him and desire him - even though she was simply a police officer assigned to investigate him.
After an extensive search using alternate names, the SVU was able to get a basic picture of William Lewis' past. He was apparently born in Kentucky (under the original name "Lewis Williams") and fifteen years ago he abducted and raped the mother of his girlfriend when she tried to break them up. He offers her a ride in the Circle K parking lot, stops at a hardware store, purchases duct tape, rope and a soldering iron, and finally stops at a liquor store to pick up some alcohol. After that he ties her up and force feeds her alcohol and drugs and then finds an abandoned mobile home in the woods where he rapes her and leaves her there when a hunter finds her. However he got lucky, because the mother was also a junkie and thus the DA was unwilling to put her on the stand to testify, so the charges were dropped.
Lewis mockingly told SVU that he was from "all over", listing off Texas, Florida, and Delaware before he came to New York, using the thin explanation that he was from a military family. While this was primarily a lie to hide his past (while taunting the SVU about his lack of past ID or records), there is apparently a kernel of truth that after his initial sexual assault in Kentucky, he proceeded to travel from state to state committing various acts of rape and sexual torture, then moving again to stay one step ahead of the police.
After Kentucky, Williams next appeared in records from Alabama, where he was the suspect in a kidnap/rape/torture of a pair of roommates. Williams broke into their apartment, put them in the truck of their own car, drove them to a fishing cabin and raped and tortured them for three straight days and leaves them there tied up and they eventually escape. Again, Williams managed to slip through the system, because both victims were too traumatized to testify in open court, so the lawyer got him off. Worse, his name was misspelled on the paperwork as "Louis Williams", so the record didn't follow him. Moreover, this gave Williams the idea of using aliases which were intentionally similar-sounding, to confuse police records which mistook it for simple spelling mistakes.
From facing repeated court appearances for rape charges, Williams became increasingly adept at manipulating points of court procedure - i.e. even while bragging to the SVU about how he raped, branded, and tortured an elderly woman for eighteen hours, he was still clever enough to phrase his entire boast as a hypothetical statement ("if I were to have raped her, I'd have branded her with a coat hanger" etc.) meaning it wasn't admissible in court as an actual confession.
Indeed, Williams seemed to actually be gloating not so much about the rape he had committed, but about the fact that he could describe the entire rape but get away with it so long as he used the hypothetical word "if". If Williams spots a break, he catches it, and slips around the police and courts. Moreover, Williams managed to get the charges dropped in Alabama because he charmed and ultimately seduced his own female defense attorney, who even went so far as to post his bail and even support him financially (because he was unemployed).
After Alabama, Williams next appeared three years ago in Maryland, where his name was further misspelled as "William Lucas", and he went to trial for the murder/rape of his then girlfriend - his own former defense attorney from Alabama. She may have been attempting to break off their relationship, which is why he raped and killed her. He took her to a foreclosed house where he rapes her for two days and leaves her to die. The police had him dead to rights – DNA, witnesses. His new lawyer gets them to offer a plea of second degree murder and he turns it down and as a result the new attorney does her due diligence and finds another boyfriend of the victim and creates reasonable doubt. Lewis walks and the DNA is expunged again.
Arrival in New York and acquittalEdit
In New York, Lewis Williams began his attacks by flashing women in the park. He managed to slip away from these charges with various lies (given that the charge of indecent exposure is only a misdemeanor anyway), only to later rape a sixty year old woman who had filed the complaint for eighteen hours straight.
Williams was able to worm out of his most recent charges by yet again adeptly manipulating the legal system. First, and more by blind luck, the DNA evidence from his assault in New York was mishandled when it was tested in improperly cleaned equipment, which Williams and his attorney seized upon as reason to deem it unacceptable in court. Next, his attorney pointed out that the elderly woman he raped and tortured was so traumatized that she might not accurately remember the face of her attacker, creating plausible deniability.
Arguably, William's initial flashing incident may have been a calculated, pre-planned tactic. Williams is very capable of manipulating the legal system, particularly points of plausible deniability, and his greatest pleasure isn't simply to commit acts of sexual torture, but to get away with it. One of the defenses Williams used at his trial was that his rape victim was obsessed with him, and thus was either targeting false charges against him, or was so traumatized that she became honestly confused and mixed up her attackers face with his own in her memories.
This created enough of a "plausible deniability" scenario that Williams was able to go free - but it never would have worked if he had simply raped a random stranger he had never met. Thus the full pattern of Williams' attacks is actually pre-planned, well thought out, and ruthlessly calculating: every time he moves to a new state he harasses women with sexually provocative but relatively minor offenses (exposing himself is a misdemeanor at worst), then subsequently kidnaps them, sexually assaults and tortures them - to such an extent that he can claim that a severely traumatized victim might plausibly blame him simply because they were the target of his "allegedly unrelated" previous harassment.
New York City rampageEdit
Lewis's vicious attacks would come to a head when he breaks into Detective Olivia Benson's apartment, holds her at gunpoint when she arrives home, and has her bound and gagged. For the next several hours, Lewis would torture and humiliate Benson, forcing her to inject sleeping pills and vodka while burning her with cigarettes and heated keys.
Lewis then returns to his halfway house, intimidates his old roommate into handing over his car keys, and steals his car, picking up his most recent defense attorney to have dinner at her parents', the Mayers, house while Benson is still bound and gagged in the trunk. Afterwards, Lewis drops off his lawyer at the train station and returns to her parents' home, where he viciously attacks her father, binds and gags him with duck tape and leaves him to die of a heart attack in cold blood and rapes and tortures her mother with Benson being forced to watch, escalating her torture if she ever shut her eyes from the carnage.
Leaving Mrs. Mayer bound in her closet, Lewis steals her credit card and car and drives around the coast with Benson still captive, looking for a suitable house to slowly rape, torture, and murder her. While in route, Lewis stops by a hardware store and, using the Mayers' stolen credit card, buys rope, duck-tape, wire, and a handheld blowtorch for his impending torture of Benson. Killing a police officer who pulled him over for running a blinking red light, Lewis takes his gun and badge and steals his patrol car, using it to pull over a young woman and her infant child, pistol-whipping her and locking them both in the trunk of the police vehicle, taking their minivan with Olivia in tow.
Finally finding a seemingly vacant house that Lewis deems perfect for his sick plans and intentions, he violently throws Benson on the bed and chains her up with handcuffs after "helping" her go to the bathroom. Ditching the stolen minivan in front of another house to throw off any potential suspicions, Lewis returns and prepares to cut Benson's clothes off until the maid of the family who live in the house arrives with her young daughter.
While initially eager to chase the maid away, Lewis changes his mind when he looks at her five year old daughter and abducts them, preparing to rape, torture, and murder both as well. While preparing to do so, Benson taunts Lewis with how pathetic he must be to prey on old women and children, believing that he isn't "man enough to get it up" for a real woman. As Lewis is enraged at the detective's claims, Benson adds insult to injury by telling the sadist that she thinks he's afraid of her.
Intent to prove her wrong, Lewis unbuckles his pants, but at that moment, Benson breaks off the iron post of the bed that she was cuffed to, and smashes it into Lewis's face with all her might, breaking his nose and violently pushing him against the wall. Immediately, Lewis attempts to grab his gun from the adjacent night table, but Benson smashes his arm with the post and kicks him in the groan. As Lewis whimpers in pain, Benson grabs the gun and holds it to his face, using the same threat he previously gave her if he tries to attack her ("One move; lights out."), and uses it to knock him out.
Taking the key to the cuffs that bound her, Benson frees herself and cuffs Lewis to the bed, the tables finally turned on the sadist, and releases the maid and her daughter afterwards. Returning to Lewis, who is still seemingly knocked out, Benson voices her disgust and hatred towards him and her desire to torture and kill him, before admitting that he might enjoy that too much. She then mentions her old partner, Elliot Stabler, and how she knew that he would break every bone in his body if he knew what Lewis had done to her and so many others.
Revealing himself to still be conscious, Lewis attempts to goad Benson into killing him, picking apart her life and relationship with her old partner. Disturbingly reading Benson's entire life and motivation like an open book, Lewis reveals the reason he rapes and tortures. His father would often bring him over to his babysitter's house to watch cartoons while he went into the back and had sex with her. One night, he passed out drunk and the babysitter began to have intercourse with Lewis, in which his father woke up, punched her hard in the face, and violently raped her with Lewis watching.
While Benson is disgusted as she initially believes that Lewis was trying to obtain some sympathy from her, Lewis reveals the contrary and that his father took him out for ice cream afterwards and that it was one of the best nights of his life; the night where he believed he learned the reason for why he was born. Realizing that Lewis does not have an ounce of remorse, redemption, or humanity within him, Benson points her gun at his face, barely resisting the temptation to kill him as Lewis encourages her to do so.
Refusing to kill even such a sick-minded individual, Benson tries to calm herself until Lewis comments "I knew it. You don't have the balls". Finally reaching her breaking point, Benson takes the bed post again firmly in her hands as Lewis looks on, visibly shaken. Benson then hits Lewis over and over again as he screams in agony, eventually beating him within an inch of his life. She finally calls the police and her squad, who arrive and take Lewis away, as Fin reveals to a shocked Benson that the rapist managed to survive his extensive wounds.
Over the following months, Detective Benson mentions that, though she is still shaken and angry, Lewis is locked up and can no longer hurt her.
In Psycho/Therapist, Lewis goes on trial for Benson's attempted murder, kidnapping, rape, and assault. However, like before, he attempts to continue his legal winning streak as he feigns innocence and injury from permanent scars on the left side of his face and his partial blind and deafness in his ear and eye as well as limping in the courtroom (though this is likely him faking as he showed a lot of energy when yelling at Benson). While he was able to force Benson to relive her memories as well as tormenting her throughout the trial, the jury acquits him on the attempted murder and rape charges but convicts on the kidnap and assault of a police officer charges, giving him 25 years to life. Before he leaves, he gives Benson one final twisted look, believing he got the last laugh forcing her through the hell in the trial. Once Lewis is gone, Benson takes time to herself in the stairwell and finally releases all her emotions crying in relief that it's over. Four months later, he faked a seizure in prison likely for preferential treatment. It is implied he is in a relationship with his DOC doctor after she holds his hand while he is on the stretcher. As he was taken away, he gave a twisted smile, impling a possible return for Lewis.
- Possibly raped numerous unnamed women and children without being suspected by the authorities
- 1998, Lexington, Kentucky: May Stu (abducted and raped)
- 2003, Montgomery, Alabama: Unnamed pair of roommates (kidnapped, raped, and tortured)
- 2010, Maryland: Unnamed Alabama lawyer/girlfriend (raped and murdered)
- 2013: New York City, New York:
- Astrid and Tilde (flashed only)
- Alice Parker (raped and tortured at gunpoint; later dies of a heart attack due to the trauma)
- Olivia Benson (kidnapped, tortured, branded, burned, attempted to rape)
- Herb Mayer (bound and gagged; dies of a heart attack due to the trauma)
- Liz Mayer (raped and tortured)
- Jimmy Hamilton (shot once in the head)
- Viva Nunez (abducted only)
- Luisa Nunez (abducted only)