Lebanon County District Attorney Pier Hess Graf has announced that a second person has been charged in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a 7-year-old girl in West Cornwall Township.

According to a Jan. 22 press release, Ariel Hiestand, no address or age given, has been charged as an accomplice of Edward Lee Williams, who had previously been charged with sexually assaulting the child.

Read More: Cornwall police arrest West Cornwall man, 54, on multiple child sex assault charges

Hess Graf said that Hiestand, whose relation to the child and Williams was not specified in the press release, is charged with rape of a child, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault of a child, endangering the welfare of a child, and production, possession, and dissemination of child pornography.

Hiestand was arrested on Jan. 19 and remains in the Lebanon County Correctional Facility. Bail has been set at $100,000.

A Jan. 16 press release and court documents filed in Williams’ case indicate that Hiestand may be the victim’s mother, and that she initially reported the crime.

The Jan. 16 press release stated that, “upon meeting with the mother of the seven-year-old victim, police learned that there was a video recording of Williams molesting the seven-year-old child.”

The affidavit of probable cause filed for Williams’ arrest identifies Ariel Hiestand specifically as the individual who showed investigators video of the victim being assaulted by Williams.

The Jan. 22 press release alleges that, “throughout the course of the investigation, it was determined that Ariel Hiestand became aware of the abuse at the hands of Edward Williams. Upon learning of the abuse, Hiestand told the child that she once again needed to subject herself to the abuse of Edward Williams so that Hiestand could attempt to video record the abuse.”

The latest release goes on to say that Hiestand ” … obtained video footage of Edward Williams sexually abusing the child … then showed said video to another individual, a child. Interviews of two additional children were conducted, corroborating that Hiestand in fact knew about the abuse, encouraged the abuse to occur again, and obtained video footage of said abuse. Hiestand was later interviewed by members of the Lebanon County Detective Bureau and admitted that the child in fact had disclosed to her that she was being abused by Edward Williams and that she told the victim that she needed to allow him to abuse her again.”

The charges against Hiestand are felonies. If convicted, she could be sentenced to decades in prison.

No date for Hiestand’s preliminary hearing had been announced at publication time.

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Chris Coyle writes primarily on government, the courts, and business. He retired as an attorney at the end of 2018, after concentrating for nearly four decades on civil and criminal litigation and trials. A career highlight was successfully defending a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who was accused,...


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