Public Safety

Iowa City sex assault survivor was scared for her life but 'never stopped fighting'

West Liberty man sentenced to 32 years for brutal attack

Andrew Wilson
Andrew Wilson

IOWA CITY — A 20-year-old survivor of sexual assault said she was “stripped to my most vulnerable state” but now stands strong and confident and “will not be ashamed of my story.”

The woman, giving a victim impact statement Friday in the sentencing for her attacker, Andrew Craig Wilson, 35, of West Liberty, said she has relived the night over and over, describing it many times as she was repeatedly scrutinized and questioned.

“I saw the body camera footage from police when they found me,” the woman said. “To see my face, wet with tears, hear my sobs, watch myself tell the officers that I have saved my spit in a can and to please take it, test it, find him.”

She didn’t understand what was unclear. She was left “half-naked, beaten, had a broken lip and bruised neck” on that cold night, Sept. 29, 2018.

“He left me there, he did that to me,” the woman said. “How anyone can doubt what happened is beyond me. I was scared for my life, and I remember thinking to myself that he was going to kill me if I didn’t stop fighting, but I wasn’t ready to give up. I never stopped fighting for myself.”

Sixth Judicial District Judge Lars Anderson sentenced Wilson to 32 years in prison, running all charges consecutively. Wilson also was ordered to serve a special sentence of parole for life for the sexual offense, and he will be listed on the sex offender registry for life.

Wilson pleaded guilty earlier this month in Johnson County District Court to third-degree kidnapping, third-degree sexual abuse, assault with intent to commit sexual abuse, assault while participating in a felony and first-degree harassment.

Wilson met the woman in a bar, and when it closed, he offered to drive her home. Instead, he drove to a secluded road south of Iowa City and sexually assaulted her, according to a criminal complaint.

In the plea, Wilson admitted to having specific intent to “secretly confine” the woman and “pinned her down” in his car. He also admitted to hitting her face.

Wilson also threatened the woman and told her if she continued to fight, he would choke her until she stopped, according to a criminal complaint.

After the assault, the woman regained consciousness in a cornfield without pants or shoes. She ran to a house in the area, and a resident called 911 for her, police said.

The woman, in her statement, expressed her “gratitude” to that man “whose house I ran into that night and he called the police for me as I sobbed in his doorway.” She couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be awakened in the middle of the night and find her there — “muddy, half-naked and crying uncontrollably.”

“Thank you for getting me the help I desperately needed.”

She also thanked the police and prosecutors, and said she couldn’t have been in court Friday without her family and friends standing by her, believing in her and supporting her.

“Thank you for staying by my side as I walked through fire and felt pain I was not aware I was capable of feeling.”

Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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