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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 24, 2016

Former Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer Arrested For Seeking And Receiving Child Pornography

Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the arrest and filing of a criminal complaint charging Michael Eugene Williams (59, Jacksonville) with publishing a notice seeking child pornography, receipt of child pornography, and possession of child pornography. If convicted on all counts, Williams faces a minimum mandatory term of 20 years, up to 60 years, in federal prison.

According to the complaint, on July 7, 2016, officers from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at Williams’s residence after receiving information that he was uploading child pornography for sharing to Google Drive.  During the execution of the warrant, agents seized electronic devices, including a cellphone and a tablet that had been identified as belonging to Williams. The forensic examination of these devices revealed that Williams had been communicating by text message with a woman in Texas who had a 3-year-old daughter. The woman was producing pornographic images of her daughter and sending them to Williams in exchange for money that Williams sent to her via Western Union.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office was able to identify the woman in Texas and agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations in Jacksonville and Dallas coordinated with the Cleburne Police Department (Texas) to obtain a search warrant for the woman’s residence. During an interview with her, she admitted to sending sexually explicit images of her daughter to Williams in exchange for money. She also stated that she had recent contact with Williams using a messaging app.

Law enforcement officers obtained a federal search warrant for Williams’s residence and seized a cellphone that belonged to him. A preliminary examination of the phone revealed additional images of child pornography received from the woman in Texas, as well as explicit chats of sexual conduct Williams wished to engage in with the child.

Williams has been arrested and is being held pending a detention hearing scheduled before United States Magistrate Judge Monte C. Richardson on Friday, October 28, 2016, at 2:30 pm. 

A criminal complaint is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This case was investigated by Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. It will be 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 the 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.usdoj.gov/psc.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated October 24, 2016