A reality TV star faces the prospect of a lengthy prison sentence after being hit with accusations of sexual assault.
Authorities in California have charged William Lewald “Bill” Hutchinson, 63, with one count of felony rape and five misdemeanor counts of sexual battery. He’s also the defendant in a sexual assault civil lawsuit in Dallas County, Texas.
The Dallas-based real estate developer rose to fame on Lifetime’s “Marrying Millions,” which chronicled his relationship with Briana Ramirez, 23. Hutchison met Ramirez, then 18, while she worked as a hostess at a Tex-Mex restaurant. Despite her family’s concerns over their 40-year age difference, the couple got engaged at the end of season two.
But the idyllic façade Bill portrayed to the world came crashing down last week following accusations that he raped and committed sexual battery against two girls in California and sexually assaulted another teenager living at his Texas mansion.
Hutchinson’s first arrest on one count of sexual assault came last week in Highland Park, Texas. According to the arrest warrant affidavit, a 17-year-old told police that Hutchinson made sure teenagers had plenty of alcohol and marijuana at his $9.5 million luxury home. One day she reportedly woke up “frozen with fear” to find him molesting her. Hutchinson won’t face the charge of sexual assault of a minor in Texas as the age of consent there is 17.
Hutchinson maintained his innocence in a statement following his release on bond. “Anyone who knows me in this city knows that I am not capable of assault, sexual or otherwise … Hopefully, all of my colleagues and friends will give me the benefit of the doubt until I prove my innocence in court.” The business mogul also denied letting minors use alcohol and drugs in his presence.
Another affidavit revealed on Friday that authorities in Orange County, California, obtained testimony from two 16-year-old girls who claimed that Hutchinson displayed similar predatory behavior with them at another property in Laguna Beach, California.
The Orange County D.A.’s office says Hutchinson raped one of the girls while she was unconscious. Though the alleged victim refused to travel with Hutchinson again, he persuaded the other teen to return to Laguna Beach with him, where he committed sexual battery against her.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department issued an active arrest warrant late Friday.
Repercussions from the allegations began to take their toll almost immediately. The fallout intensified over the weekend as Tom Steele for The Dallas Morning News describes:
In a statement Saturday, Hutchinson said he was stepping aside from his business roles immediately, including his roles at the Virgin Hotels Dallas and W Hotel, “out of the best interest of all parties involved.”
Hutchinson founded the commercial real estate firm Dunhill Partners in 1984. He spearheaded the revitalization of Dallas’ upscale Design District after acquiring most of the neighborhood in 2014.
After welcoming his first grandchild in 2019, Hutchinson told The Dallas Morning News, he felt more like a teenager and didn’t want to fill a grandfatherly role for a long time.
If convicted on all charges, Bill Hutchinson faces ten and a half years behind bars.
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Patrick Houck is an avid political aficionado based out of the Washington, D.C. metro area. When not analyzing the latest news, you can find him enjoying the company of family and friends, trying out highly recommended hiking trails, or daydreaming about his next scuba diving trip.