Calling him a "menace to society", a judge handed down the maximum sentence to a convicted rapist Monday in Lycoming County Court.
William Edward Downs, 29, of Williamsport, who was convicted in January on charges involving assaults of three women over a two-year period, will spend a minimum of 31 years in state prison.
"This is a heinous crime," County Judge Marc Lovecchio said. "These women have to live with the impact of your actions the rest of their lives."
Downs, who has been jailed in the Lycoming County Prison for the past two years, had asked the judge to consider leniency.
He said he was the father of three children.
"I don't want my children growing up without a father," he said.
Lovecchio said he understood that and other factors raised with respect to Downs' past and his upbringing.
Lovecchio said his primary purpose in considering sentencing was "to protect the community."
"I clearly recognize that you have had a difficult past, but quite candidly it doesn't excuse what you've done," the judge said. "I realize it will be tough on your family. But that is a choice you made, not that I made."
Downs was convicted of raping his first victim during the early morning hours of Oct. 5, 2008, after meeting up with her in the 800 block of Hepburn Street.
The defense argued that it was not rape, that the two had agreed to consensual sex.
Downs was convicted of following and attacking two other victims on June 27, 2010.
One of the victims, whom Downs encountered on Pine Street, was able to fight off Downs.
A short time later, he assaulted a second woman a few blocks away, but a passerby stopped the attack and Downs fled the scene.
A number of letters were read in court testifying as to Downs being a family man and a good member of the community.
Defense attorney Jeana Longo argued that he was a loving father
She noted a near-drowning experience he had as a child and she said he never received counseling for sexual acts he committed against two small children while a juvenile.
Spending more than 30 years in jail, she said, essentially would amount to a life sentence.
Lovecchio said Downs was the most dangerous of predators, one who presents one persona to society during the day while lying in wait to attack women at night.
Assistant District Attorney Ann Kalaus called Downs "a classic serial rapist."
She said he never accepted responsibility for his actions and called the facts of the case "disturbing."
"The defendant is every woman's worst nightmare," she said.
Lovecchio also ruled that Downs be designated as a sexually violent predator under Megan's Law.
Following his incarceration, Downs will be required to report to state police and inform them of his place of residence.
The judge's ruling came following testimony from C. Townsend Velkoff of the state Sexual Offender Assessment Court.
Velkoff said by the nature of the offenses it was obvious that Downs engaged in predatory behavior for the purpose of engaging in sexually aggressive behavior.
He testified that Downs is predisposed to committing such acts again and is a danger to society.
Velkoff said sexual offenders can benefit from counseling and never commit such acts again.
However, it often requires that the person feel remorse for their past acts and be committed to therapy.