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Troy man accused of raping, sexually assaulting teen girls out on bail

by DERRICK PERKINS
Daily Inter Lake | May 10, 2022 7:00 AM

The 25-year-old accused of raping one teen and sexually assaulting two others at a 2021 Halloween party is out on bail.

William James Pillans, 25, was released from the Flathead County Detention Center on May 5. His attorney, Maury Solomon, earlier in the day successfully petitioned District Judge Amy Eddy to lower bail from $150,000 to $25,000.

Pillans, who faces a sexual intercourse without consent charge along with felony and misdemeanor counts of sexual assault, stands accused of posing as a teenager at an underage party and climbing into bed with three different girls. One of those underage girls later told investigators that Pillans raped her over her protests, according to court documents.

Two others told authorities that he groped them against their wishes. One recounted kicking Pillans out of bed. The other said he stopped only after several male partygoers burst into the room and ran him off, according to court documents.

IN ARGUING for a reduced bail — Solomon initially sought Pillans’ release on his own recognizance — the attorney also offered insight into the defense’s strategy. Solomon told the court he identified inconsistencies in the police reports after the Halloween party. Witness statements also contained discrepancies, he said.

Further, investigators found no DNA evidence linking Pillans to the sexual assaults, Solomon said. There was no male DNA found during sexual assault examination and no semen found on the bedsheets, he said.

“They are serious charges,” he told the court. “But the strength of the case is less than what appears in the charging documents.”

Deputy County Attorney Andrew Clegg objected, arguing that Solomon was delving too deeply into the looming court case. But he pointed to an admission Pillans made to investigators in rebutting the defense attorney.

“He admitted to being in bed with a 15-year-old,” Clegg said. “He’s 25.”

During his argument, Solomon also pointed to Pillans’ history of compliance with the terms of release.

The 25-year-old earned a suspended sentence in 2020 following an Alford plea. That sentence was revoked earlier this year, meaning Pillans was given to the care of the state Department of Corrections for five years.

While Pillans remained free, he was fitted with an alcohol monitoring device. His mother, Kathleen Pillans, testified that he reported regularly to his probation officer, underwent treatment and received mental health counseling. Her son stayed with her in Troy and had kept busy in the intervening months fixing up a house on the family property, she said.

Solomon walked Kathleen Pillans through her son’s most recent arrest, which she said occurred in the small Lincoln County community. According to court documents, Pillans refused to answer the door when law enforcement arrived on April 13, earning himself a violation of his sentence.

Prosecutors have asked for Pillans’ sentence to be revoked for that and other alleged violations. A hearing is scheduled for July 14, after his trial is set to take place on the new charges.

Officers ultimately found him hiding under the bed, court documents said.

Kathleen Pillans painted a different picture. She was staying with him at the time, recuperating from surgery for a brain aneurysm, she said. The two were aware of the newly filed charges, but he wanted to help her recover for a few days, Kathleen Pillans said.

While she was absent for the actual arrest, she said that her brother witnessed it and recalled law enforcement agents arriving with guns drawn and entering the home without announcing or knocking.

“The cat pushed the door open and they came in,” she said. “That’s how my brother described it.”

SEVERAL TIMES Solomon pointed out that all parties were aware of the allegations from the Halloween gathering. Prosecutors, he said, had floated charges, revised them and withdrawn them prior to ultimately filing them against Pillans.

If he were such a danger to the community, Solomon argued, why were prosecutors just now seeking to keep him behind bars?

“I don’t see any new questions of community risk or safety,” he said.

Clegg argued that prosecutors had done right by Pillans by waiting until they fully investigated the Halloween party allegations to bring charges forward. He said Solomon was “now holding it against me.”

“It’s a good charge,” Clegg said before pointing to Pillans’ criminal history. “He has victimized the community for four years. It’s time to keep him in.”

Eddy said she would lower bail to $25,000, but not release Pillans’ on his own recognizance, citing the nature of the alleged crimes.

“I recognized they have been pending,” she said. “I recognize that you [Pillans] have been in compliance.”

Pillans is due back in court for a June 1 pretrial conference. A status hearing is set for June 13. His trial is scheduled for June 27.