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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 21, 2021

Philadelphia Police Officer Arrested for Child Pornography Offenses

PHILADELPHIA – Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that William Watts, Sr., 55, of Philadelphia, PA, was arrested and charged by Criminal Complaint for transportation and possession of child pornography, arising from his transmission over the internet of images of children being sexually abused.

According to the Complaint, the defendant downloaded multiple files of child pornography from the internet application ‘WhatsApp,’ including depictions of prepubescent children engaged in sexual acts, some with adults. The defendant was arrested this morning after the FBI executed a federal search warrant at his residence. He will make his initial appearance in federal court tomorrow, October 22, 2021, and a pretrial detention and probable cause hearing will be scheduled for next week. 

During the time of the charged offenses, Watts was employed as a Philadelphia Police Officer.

“As alleged in the Criminal Complaint, the defendant sought out videos of children being abused for his own gratification – thus adding to the demand for these types of images to be produced and more children to be victimized,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “The convenience and accessibility of digital images, coupled with the ease with which child sexual exploitation crimes can be concealed online, make these cases extremely difficult to investigate and prosecute. However, our Office and our law enforcement partners are committed to doing this difficult work in order to hold people like this defendant accountable, no matter their position in the community or occupation.”

“No one is above the law,” said Bradley S. Benavides, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Philadelphia Division. “If you're seeking out images of children being sexually abused and exploited, you're perpetuating the victimization of innocents and the FBI is going to investigate and bring you to justice. Protecting children is the priority here.”

If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 40 years in prison.

The case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kelly Harrell.

An indictment, information, or criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Contact: 
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA 615 Chestnut Street, Suite 1250 Philadelphia, PA 19106 JENNIFER CRANDALL Media Contact 215-861-8300 If you have not done so already, follow @USAO_EDPA and @USAttyWilliams on Twitter to get the most up-to-date information about big cases and community news.
Updated October 21, 2021