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Press Release

Vista Man Sentenced to more than 17 years in Prison for Child Pornography Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of California

Assistant U. S. Attorneys Janet Cabral (619) 546-8715 or Amanda Griffith (619)546-8970


SAN DIEGO – William Francis Walsh IV, a former Marine who worked at a fire station on Camp Pendleton, was sentenced today to 210 months in federal custody for distribution and possession of images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Walsh, 55, was arrested in May of 2017 and charged with two counts of distribution and one count of possession of images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct based upon his use of a peer-to-peer file-sharing program to distribute and download the images.

Walsh pleaded not guilty to the charges, and evidence was presented at a four-day federal jury trial in February of 2018. The jury heard testimony from law enforcement officers from the Escondido Police Department regarding the nature of the online investigation, the items seized at Walsh’s house pursuant to a search warrant, and the computer forensic evidence. Evidence at trial showed Walsh had downloaded hundreds of files with names indicative of child pornography through use of the peer-to-peer file sharing software. Following deliberations, the jury found him guilty of all charges.

At sentencing, Walsh declined to make a statement, and his counsel noted he continues to dispute the charges. U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Battaglia noted the long-term suffering of victims depicted in child pornography.  In comparing Walsh to the range of offenders sentenced for similar offenses, the judge said Walsh’s conduct was “on the extreme end of the cases I have seen.”

“Today a man who committed terrible crimes against children was sentenced to many years in prison,” said U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman. “These horrible experiences will echo in the hearts and minds of young victims for a lifetime, and I am deeply distressed and deeply committed to pursuing cases that will protect our vulnerable youth from people like Walsh.”

“Today’s sentence confirms that this predator can no longer victimize innocent children because he is off the streets and he is offline,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge John Brown. “This investigation showcases the success of collaborative federal and local investigations working toward a common goal.”      

DEFENDANT                                               Criminal Case No. 17cr1269-AJB

William Francis Walsh IV       Age: 55                     Vista, CA


  • Counts 1 and 2 - Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252(a)(2), Distribution of Images of Minors Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct;
  • Count 3 – Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252(a)(4)(B), Possession of Images of Minors Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct

Maximum penalties:

  • Counts 1 and 2 – 20 years in prison, with a mandatory 5 years in prison
  • Count 3 – 20 years in prison
  • As to all Counts, $250,000 fine


Federal Bureau of Investigation

Escondido Police Department

Updated May 21, 2018

Project Safe Childhood
Press Release Number: CAS18-0521-Walsh