Former Jacksonville Police Officer Sentenced To Life Imprisonment For Sex Trafficking Of A Toddler
Jacksonville, Florida – U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard has sentenced Michael Eugene Williams (61, Jacksonville) to a term of life imprisonment for the commercial sex trafficking of a child, which began when the child was 3 years old. As part of his sentence, the Court also ordered restitution in the amount of $194,905.17 to the minor victim, and ordered the forfeiture of electronic devices used in the commission of the offense, including a cellular telephone, an electronic tablet, and an Internet router.
Williams pleaded guilty to the offense on June 5, 2017.
According to court documents, from at least February 25, 2016, through September 28, 2016, Williams solicited an adult woman in Texas to sexually abuse her 3-year-old daughter, take photographs of the abuse, and sell the photographs to him. An investigation of Williams began in late May 2016, when an Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force detective with Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (“JSO”) received a cyber tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The tip established that Williams was sharing child pornography. JSO obtained a search warrant for Williams’s residence and found more than 450 images and videos of child pornography on his cellular telephone. In addition, a JSO forensic examiner found text communications between Williams and an adult woman in Texas beginning in January 2016, and continuing through July 7, 2016. During this time period, there were approximately 337 messages, mostly sexual in nature, between Williams and the woman about her daughter.
Williams repeatedly requested more explicit pornographic pictures and videos of the minor for money, urging the mother to engage in sexual acts with her child and to have the child perform sexual acts on others and film the activity. Williams sent at least 19 Western Union wire transfers to the mother for the payment of visual depictions of the minor’s sexual abuse, which were funded by Williams’s retirement income from his career as a JSO officer.
Immediately, upon discovery of the depictions of sexual abuse of the then 4-year-old, Homeland Security Investigations and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office contacted Texas law enforcement officials and the child was removed from the abusive environment. In an interview with the mother, she indicated she had recently been in contact with Williams via “Kik” messenger and that she had communicated with him as recently as September 2016. On October 21, 2016, a federal search warrant was executed at Williams’s residence, where agents discovered his newly obtained cellular telephone containing additional sexually explicit videos of the 4-year-old child and messages in which Williams indicated his desire to perform sexual acts on the child.
The Texas woman pleaded guilty to two counts of production of child pornography in federal court (Northern District of Texas). She was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison.
“This is one of the most heinous crimes imaginable,” said HSI Tampa Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero. “Thanks to HSI special agents and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, this criminal will no longer be able to sexually abuse children.”
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (Jacksonville and Dallas), the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Secret Service, and the Cleburne Police Department (Texas). It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kelly S. Karase.
It is another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.