BARNSTABLE — A Barnstable Superior Court jury on July 14 found Truro resident Ronnie Walker, 57, guilty of aggravated rape of a child. He was sentenced to 10 to 12 years in state prison. The mandatory minimum sentence for the offense is 10 years.
According to the trial transcript, Walker, who lived in a cottage on 17 Great Hollow Lane in Truro, met the 15-year-old victim when Ellis Wilson, 19, Walker’s coworker at the Provincetown Dept. of Public Works, brought her to Walker’s cottage.
Walker did not testify during the trial. But Wilson, his co-defendant in the case, told the court under oath that he had been dating the young woman. They met at Nauset Regional High School when Wilson was a senior and she was a freshman, he testified. They were dating during the pandemic lockdown and made a plan to meet one day during the spring of 2020 — sometime between April and June, according to the transcript. Neither Wilson nor the victim could recall the date.
The charges against Wilson were reduced, and he received a sentence of one year on probation in exchange for his testimony.
Wilson’s car had broken down, he said, so he asked Walker for a ride. Walker picked up Wilson and the victim and drove them to his cottage, where the teens went into a back bedroom to be alone.
At some point, when the victim was wearing only a shirt, Walker, who was then 55, walked into the bedroom and stared at the girl. Wilson said both he and his girlfriend were shocked when Walker barged in. Walker then pulled the victim onto the bed, and she said, “No,” Wilson testified.
Wilson testified that Walker forced himself on the victim with his fingers and his mouth —acts that constitute rape under Massachusetts law. Wilson did not intervene. He testified that he sat on the bed and smoked marijuana during the rape, which he testified lasted about two minutes.
Then Walker drove the girl home and took Wilson to Provincetown. Walker and Wilson had known each other for about six years before this event, and they continued to have contact after it was over, according to Walker’s attorney, Colleen Duarte of the Committee for Public Counsel Services.
Before announcing the sentence, Judge Mark Gildea said, “This case is sad not only because of the effect on [the victim] but because of the inactions that allowed this heinous act to occur.”
The victim told no one what happened until August, when she became worried that she had contracted a sexually transmitted disease because of the rape. She then told her mother what had happened and was examined at Outer Cape Health Services. A report of abuse or neglect, known as a “51A,” was filed, according to Detective Sgt. Steven Raneo of the Truro Police Dept. That is how Children’s Cove, the Barnstable County agency that assists child victims of abuse, became involved in the case. The agency contacted the Truro police.
Both Wilson and Walker were charged with felonies in Orleans District Court in September 2020. Prosecutors agreed to reduce Wilson’s statutory rape charge to assault and battery, a misdemeanor, in an exchange for his testimony against Walker, Duarte said.
Walker is from Alabama but has been in Massachusetts for 12 years, Duarte said. He was convicted of numerous crimes while living in Florida before moving to Massachusetts, according to Cape & Islands Assistant District Attorney Jessica Croker. He was charged with larcenies and other crimes but nothing of a sexual nature, Croker said.
In Massachusetts, Walker was arrested twice for operating under the influence — in Truro in 2018 and in Provincetown in 2020, according to Orleans District Court records. In 2019, Truro police arrested him for assault on a family member after an argument over the cleanliness of the room where they lived at the Truro Motor Inn. A district court judge dismissed the assault charge at the request of the victim.
During Walker’s trial, his attorney urged the jury to take into the account the numerous times that the victim stated she could not remember or didn’t know the answers to questions posed to her on the witness stand. Though she did describe Walker in general terms, she could not pick him out of a photo array and she did not know the exact location of his cottage, attorney Duarte argued.
Croker told the jury to consider that the girl had never met the older man until that day, and that she did not know how to drive when she climbed into the back seat of his truck. “You can tell from her testimony that she was traumatized,” Croker said. “You can see how this affected her.”
Walker addressed the court after being sentenced to the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley. “I had good goals,” he said. “I played college football and pro football … but got in with the wrong crowd of people and got in trouble.”
“It was an honor to represent Mr. Walker,” Duarte said. His “reputation is not just this. It is not his only mark on the world. He has children, including one daughter who is here, and she is a pretty great young lady.”
“I have considered your prior record, which dates back almost 30 years from when you were a teenager,” Judge Gildea told Walker. “There is a long record that follows Mr. Walker.”