Who is William Ray Pruitt? Ex-police chief accused of raping girl, 14, faces charges for stalking same victim

Who is William Ray Pruitt? Ex-police chief accused of raping girl, 14, faces charges for stalking same victim
William Ray Pruitt held at Lake County Jail, awaiting his arraignment on February 2, 2023 (Lake County Sheriff’s Office)

LAKE COUNTY, FLORIDA: A former police chief in Florida, who was accused of raping a 14-year-old girl at gunpoint, was arrested last week for allegedly stalking the now 16-year-old same victim again. William Ray Pruitt is being held at Lake County Jail and charged with one count of felony aggravated stalking and one count of misdemeanor simple stalking. 

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Pruitt was only arrested in December 2022 and charged with two counts of sexual battery of the underage victim. He was accused of luring the victim into his truck and sexually assaulting her at gunpoint when she was only 14 years old. The victim told investigators she had previously denied the charges out of fear that her perpetrator threatened to "blow her brains out" if she ever told the police. A year later he allegedly began stalking and harassing when the victim was 15 and continued until December 2022, when she was 16.

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Who is William Ray Pruitt?

William Ray Pruitt, 56, served as the chief of the Center Hill Police Department from 1998 to 1999. He currently owns Pruitt Walter in Leesburg. The victim's mother claimed she first met Pruitt in March 2020, but soon she “began to suspect Pruitt was grooming [the victim] and possibly having an inappropriate relationship with her,” according to the affidavit obtained by Law&Crime. The victim told investigators that she had denied the allegations for over a year “due to fear, threats, and harassment made by Pruitt in 2021."

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“For example, Pruitt threatened to kill himself,” the affidavit states. “Pruitt told [the victim] due to the fact he was an ‘ex-cop’ he had detective friends who hacked her phone and tracked all her activity for him.” After allegedly sexually battering the girl at gunpoint he threatened to “blow her brains out” if she ever told anyone. Due to the mother's suspicions about Pruitt, she quit her job and moved to an undisclosed location. Later, a private investigator showed up who the victim's mother believes was hired by Pruitt, and soon after he allegedly started driving around the victim's new residence.

William Ray Pruitt's trails of harrasment

Things got worse after Pruitt started leaving cryptic messages around the neighborhood, sending his employee to harass the girl and in one instance allegedly trying to ram the girl off the road. “On 5/27/22 a homemade sign appeared zip tied to the stop sign at the intersection of [redacted]. The sign was printed on one side with ‘Ray Liberty’ and on the other with ‘Libby,'” the affidavit states. Sources reported that during an encounter, "Pruitt told the victim if he got her pregnant he will name their daughter ‘Liberty Ray’ (with ‘Ray’ being his middle name) and call the child ‘Libby’ after his mother.”

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He is also accused of sending one of his employees to the girl's high school football game, who allegedly asked her, "How's Libby?" The harassment and stalking continued for months, culminating in an August incident where he allegedly followed the girl and tried to force her to pull over, before attempting to veer her off the road. The victim escaped after she drove toward her cousin's apartment. The final blow came in December 2022, after the victim found a sign taped to her car that read "Liberty 3" with hearts at her high school parking lot. .“[The victim] indicated this is again a reference to the child Pruitt thinks they might have together and proof that Pruitt is the only person who would leave such a message for her,” the affidavit read. Pruitt was arrested and remains in Lake County Jail, awaiting his arraignment on February 2. 

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