Photo Credits: Times of India
Reverend Robert McWilliams, 39, was first arrested and charged with possession of child pornography and now he is accused of participating in the prostitution of children. McWilliams, who worked at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Strongsville, OH was previously indicted on 19 counts of second-degree felony pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor. He was also charged with second-degree felony illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material and fifth-degree felony possessing criminal tools. Before arresting him, the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force raided his office and living space.
Authorities in Geauga County believe McWilliams was using a second cellphone number to contact children he knew so he could pretend to be someone else, and was using extortion to get the children to send him nude photographs, prosecutors said.
The Cleveland.com reports:
Geauga County Prosecutor James Flaiz wrote in the Friday filing that his office discovered the evidence after searching computers and other electronic devices seized from the Rev. Robert McWilliams in December, and through in-state and out-of-state interviews.
Flaiz has been in talks with U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman’s office about whether the case against the Reverend Robert McWilliams — which includes charges that span two Ohio counties — should move to federal court, the filing says.
McWilliams has pleaded not guilty to charges in two counties that accuse him of possessing child pornography. A grand jury in Cuyahoga County charged him last month in a 21-count indictment, and he faces a single charge in Chardon Municipal Court.
Flaiz wrote in the filing that McWilliams is expected to face additional charges once the case is presented to a grand jury there. He is currently being held in the Geauga County Jail on a $150,000 bond.
The reason this story came out before new allegations became charges is because there was a debate over the $150,000 bond leveled against McWilliams. His court-appointed attorney argued it was unreasonable to keep him in jail unless he paid that high amount, so the government released some more of its evidence to show it was actually warranted.