Girlfriend of accused rape-for-hire mastermind harassed victim and witnesses, prosecutors say

Taniqua Williams | CPD

The girlfriend of a man who allegedly arranged to have a woman raped and robbed in a River North hotel as part of a lawsuit scheme threatened and harassed the victim and witnesses in the case over the past week, prosecutors said.

“We know you’re a f*cking snitch. Bang. Bang,” Taniqua Williams allegedly told a key witness in the case just days after her live-in boyfriend, Tirnell Williams, was ordered held without bail on September 27.

Taniqua Williams, 33, and a female friend stayed in a room that Tirnell Williams, 43, paid for so the women could celebrate the friend’s last night in Chicago, prosecutors said.

But the night out at Home2Suites by Hilton was a set-up in which the friend was raped and robbed by a man that Tirnell Williams hired for the job because the attacker is “a real animal and he enjoys it,” according to the state’s allegations.

Tirnell Williams, a nine-time felon on bail for a suburban robbery case, planned to profit from the attack by referring the victim to an attorney who would file a lawsuit against Hilton, prosecutors said.

And, prosecutors revealed Tuesday, Taniqua Williams urged the victim not to tell police about the brutal attack and offered to put her in touch with a lawyer instead.

Brutal attack

Tirnell Williams | CPD

Early on August 14, the victim left the hotel at 110 West Huron to pick up a few items from a nearby store. She spoke with Taniqua Williams by phone as she walked back to the hotel and ended the conversation as she entered the hotel’s front door around 1:30 a.m. 

The attacker then trailed her onto the hotel elevator and pulled her into a stairwell when she reached her guestroom floor. The attacker held a knife to the 32-year-old woman’s throat, sliced her purse off of her arm, removed her leggings, and shredded her underwear, prosecutors said.

Then, the attacker tied the woman to a handrail in the stairwell and forced her to perform a sex act. When the woman vomited, he sodomized the woman and fled down the staircase with her purse. Police have not yet identified the rapist.

Taniqua Williams, who claimed she fell asleep after her phone call with the victim ended, later went looking for the woman and found her tied up in the stairwell, prosecutors said.

“With friends like this, you do not need an enemy,” Judge John Lyke said Tuesday after hearing the state’s allegations during Taniqua Williams’ bond hearing.

No contact order

Prosecutors and detectives allegedly ordered Taniqua Williams to have no contact with the victim or any witnesses in the case after prosecutors charged her boyfriend with armed robbery, aggravated criminal sexual assault, and conspiracy to commit aggravated criminal sexual assault late last month.

But she ignored those orders, according to the state’s latest allegations.

On the same day that Tirnell Williams was ordered held without bail in the case, Taniqua Williams allegedly called the victim’s mother and told her to tell the woman that she should tell police that everything she reported was a lie. Upon hearing Williams’ demand, the victim became upset and scared, prosecutors said. 

Then, on Friday, Taniqua Williams met with a pivotal witness in the case about an unrelated matter. During the encounter, Williams allegedly formed her hand into the shape of a gun and said, “we know you’re a f*cking snitch. Bang. Bang.”

According to the state, she admitted to talking with the victim’s mother during a phone call that authorities recorded.

Prosecutors charged Taniqua Williams with harassing a witness and illegal communications with a witness. Judge Lyke called the crimes “one of the most egregious…in all of criminal law because the very foundation of our criminal justice system is at stake.”

“If we allow witnesses to be intimidated or threatened not to come to court,” Lyke said, “then bad guys can get away with doing bad things.”

He then ordered Taniqua Williams held instead of $250,000 bail. She is required to go onto electronic monitoring if she can post the mandatory $25,000 deposit bond.

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