Former Springside Chestnut Hill Academy Teacher Sentenced to over Thirty-Eight Years on Child Pornography Offenses
PHILADELPHIA – First Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Liam Heim, 23, of St. Petersburg, Florida, was sentenced to 180 months’ imprisonment, and lifetime supervised release by United States District Judge Petrese B. Tucker for child exploitation offenses which occurred in Philadelphia.
In early 2018, while living in Florida, the defendant started an online forum on the messaging service Discord, through which he met a 12-year-old girl living with her parents in southern New Jersey. Heim groomed his seventh-grade victim to believe that they were in a romantic relationship, eventually convincing her to meet with him in person so that he could sexually assault her. On March 29, 2018, Heim flew from Florida to Philadelphia, picked up the victim in southern New Jersey, and brought her to a hotel near the airport in Philadelphia where he repeatedly sexually assaulted her over the course of an approximately 36-hour period before the victim was recovered by authorities and Heim was arrested. The defendant ultimately pled guilty to charges of traveling in interstate commerce to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, and transportation of a minor in interstate commerce with intent to engage in unlawful sexual activity.
“The harm caused by any child exploitation is devastating and long-lasting,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Williams. “And in this case, the conduct wasn’t limited to online communications – this defendant followed through, traveled here from out-of-state, and actually assaulted a young and vulnerable child. There can be no doubt that our children and our community are safer now that this defendant is off the street. We stand ready with our federal and local partners to identify and prosecute all those who would prey upon minor children.”
"The sexual exploitation of children is a heinous offense,” said Marlon V. Miller, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations, Philadelphia. “This joint investigation with the Philadelphia Police Department Special Victims Unit, Collingswood Police Department and Camden County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit demonstrates HSI’s commitment to working with our law enforcement partners to bring perpetrators to justice.”
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, Philadelphia Police Department and the Camden County District Attorney’s Office, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Seth M. Schlessinger.
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
Suite 1250, 615 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
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