Feds Charge Former St. Helen Seminarian with Child Pornography, Child Exploitation and Juvenile Sex Trafficking
February 22, 2020 by Staff Report

Robert D. McWilliams, 29, was charged by criminal complaint Friday with receiving or distributing child pornography, sexual exploitation of children and sex trafficking of a minor.

According to the affidavit in support of the complaint, McWilliams pretended to be a female on social media applications that he used to make contact with minor male victims. Certain of McWilliams’s alleged victims were young boys McWilliams knew because he served as a priest in parishes with which these children and there families were affiliated, according to a press release the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Ohio, issued Feb. 21.

Posing as the female, McWilliams allegedly enticed the minor male victims to send sexually explicit photographs and videos, sometimes threatening to expose embarrassing information McWilliams already knew about the victims if they did not send such images. At times, McWilliams is alleged to have threatened to send those photographs to family and friends if the minor male victims did not send additional photographs and videos, the release said.

McWilliams also is alleged to have followed through on this threat by sending the mothers sexually explicit photographs he received from minor male victims.

The affidavit further alleges that McWilliams was in possession of, received or distributed child pornography, including a video file of a nude infant boy bound and raped by an adult male; approximately 1,700 images and videos of child pornography; and approximately 150 files of child pornography in a Dropbox cloud storage account.

In addition, McWilliams is alleged to have used the social networking website Grindr.com to make contact with a minor male victim for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex. McWilliams allegedly met the victim on multiple occasions and, in exchange for sex, paid the 15-year-old boy approximately $100 per act.

Anyone with knowledge of McWilliams’s contact with children should contact Homeland Security Investigations at (216) 749-9602.

A complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

“A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” the release added.

This investigation is being conducted by the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, with assistance from the Geauga County Prosecutor’s Office and Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children (“ICAC”) Task Force.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carol M. Skutnik and Bridget M. Brennan.