Public Safety

Cedar Rapids man faces sex abuse charge in Ped Mall attack last fall

IOWA CITY — A Cedar Rapids man accused of sexually assaulting a woman in downtown Iowa City last year was arrested over the weekend.

William D. Pearson, 23, was charged Saturday with second-degree sexual abuse and willful injury causing bodily injury, after a woman told police he choked her on the Pedestrian Mall in November. Both charges are felonies.

Police were called to the Ped Mall at 12:35 a.m. Nov. 17 for a report of a man strangling a woman. The caller interrupted the assault and chased after the attacker when he ran away.

Police said they found Pearson, who matched the description given by the caller, about a block away wearing a bracelet from the Fieldhouse bar. Pearson was released when the woman involved could not be located.

Later that morning, the woman called police to report the attack. She told police she met Pearson at the Fieldhouse and they went out to the Pedestrian Mall to kiss. The woman said he began making unwanted sexual contact. When she resisted, he choked her with both hands and she lost consciousness.

When she regained consciousness, she met her friends at the Union Bar, where she saw Pearson again, police said.

Surveillance video shows Pearson running from the scene of the assault, police said.

Pearson admitted to kissing the woman but denied attacking her, police said.

The woman suffered pain, bruising, redness and burst blood vessels in her eyes, neck and face.

Pearson posted a $5,000 surety bond and was released from Johnson County Jail hours after his arrest.

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A preliminary hearing is set for May 28, and Pearson has been ordered not to have any contact with the woman.

l Comments: (319) 398-8238; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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