Las Vegas Photographer Pleads Guilty To Multi-State Child Sexual Exploitation Conspiracy
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – A Las Vegas photographer who posed as a professional modeling photographer and alternative sports sponsor to lure children on the promise of sponsorships pleaded guilty today in federal court in connection to a child sexual exploitation conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse for the FBI’s Las Vegas Field Office.
William Clyde Thompson, 58, of Las Vegas, pleaded guilty to child exploitation enterprise, sexual exploitation of a child, conspiracy to produce child pornography, distribution of child pornography, conspiracy to distribute child pornography, and possession of child pornography. He was indicted in September 2013 in Nevada and in 2015 in Arizona. United States District Judge Jennifer A. Dorsey scheduled a sentencing hearing for May 28, 2019.
According to admissions contained in the binding plea agreement, in November 2011, Thompson took sexually explicit photos and videos of a 10-year-old boy. He later introduced the victim, who was a skateboarder, to a potential sponsor. In November 2012, the victim’s mother made a report to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department after the potential sponsor informed her that he believed her child was being sexually exploited. Later that month during the execution of search warrants, multiple digital devices belonging to Thompson were seized from his residence and studio. A forensic examination of the devices revealed over 10,000 files of child sexual exploitation photos and videos.
In January 2013, Thompson was arrested in Nevada on child pornography charges and the state court ordered him released on house arrest. However, Thompson cut off his ankle bracelet and fled the Las Vegas area. He was later indicted on federal charges in September 2013.
While on the run from law enforcement, Thompson contacted at least six boys in the spring and summer of 2014 at the Needles California Skate Park. He identified himself as “Tony Bailor” and “Jason Brock” and told the boys he was a “scooter sponsor.” He and others provided the boys with gifts to induce their compliance and to recruit other minors to be part of the “team” that he claimed he wanted to sponsor. In reality, Thompson and others recruited the “team” with the intention to produce child pornography and to sexually abuse the boys.
Thompson convinced the boys to travel without their parents to his Mohave Valley, Arizona, residence for photo shoots on several occasions. He told the boys they would be paid for the photos and that he would resell the photos online through a website. He told them that prospective buyers had requested specific boys, poses, and clothing in the creation of the pornographic depictions. The boys complied with Thompson’s requests because of the money, alcohol, and marijuana he provided them. Over a six-month period, Thompson produced over 20,000 images and videos depicting sexually explicit content of the children.
Thompson and a co-conspirator created multiple websites to distribute the child pornography he created. Thompson would post sample child pornography photos on one of the websites and when someone purchased the photos based on the sample, he would send the purchaser a hyperlink to the child pornography files on a cloud-based service.
In January 2015, Thompson was arrested during a traffic stop in Mohave Valley, Arizona. At the time of his arrest, law enforcement recovered digital devices belonging to Thompson that contained over one million images and ranged from child erotica to child pornography of several victims.
Both parties jointly recommended Thompson be sentenced to 354 months in prison with a lifetime term of supervised release. As part of the plea agreement, he agreed to pay full restitution to his victims.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Burton and Elham Roohani are prosecuting the case.
If you have information regarding William Clyde Thompson, you are urged to contact the nearest FBI field office or local law enforcement. To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at (702) 385-5555 or visit www.crimestoppersofnv.com, or contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) by calling the 24-hour hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) or by making a report at www.cybertipline.com.
This case was 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 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood and for information about internet safety education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.