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Press Release

Columbus Man Sentenced For Receiving Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Georgia

Charles E. Peeler, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announces that William Tooley, 53, of Columbus, Georgia, entered a plea today to receipt of child pornography.  Mr. Tooley entered his plea of guilty before the Honorable Clay D. Land of the United States District Court in Columbus, Georgia, who imposed a sentence of 360 months imprisonment (30 years).  Mr. Tooley will also be required to serve 25 years of supervised release under strict sexual offender supervision in the unlikely event he should ever be released from prison.

There is no parole in the federal system.  

According to the facts presented in court, in March of 2016, the mother of an 11 year old boy located in in another state discovered that her son had been texting and sending nude photos of himself to an individual she suspected of impersonating a teen boy.   The victim revealed that he had been texting with someone he knew as “Mason”, who said he lived in Georgia, and was either 15 or 17 years old (at different times, he represented both).  During these text conversations, “Mason” asked the victim to send sexually explicit photos of himself over the internet.

Due to the interstate nature of the case, the matter was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).  “Mason” turned out to be 53 year old registered sex offender and Columbus, GA, resident, William Tooley.  Mr. Tooley admitted that he received sexually explicit photos from the juvenile victim via text message.    Public records revealed that Mr. Tooley had two separate convictions  in the state of Michigan for 4th degree criminal sexual conduct involving a minor and another for accosting a child for immoral purposes.

“The sentence recommended to and imposed by Judge Land virtually ensures that this repeat sexual offender  will spend the rest of his days in the federal penitentiary, where he belongs and where he can no longer prey on innocent children.  It also has spared the young victim in this case the additional trauma of having to testify about Mr. Tooley’s predations in a public courtroom,” said United States Attorney Peeler.

“This deviant child predator did not learn his lesson from his previous multiple convictions for child exploitation,” said acting HSI Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Gregory L. Wiest. “This case should serve as a warning to others and a reminder to parents to pay attention to their children’s online activity and to stay vigilant in the protection of our children.”

The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations.  Assistant United States Attorney Crawford Seals handled the prosecution for the Government. 

 Questions concerning this case should be directed to Pamela Lightsey, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603.

Updated January 29, 2018

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