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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Virginia

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Roanoke Man Pleads Guilty to Child Pornography Charge

William Rhodes Admitted to Using an Internet Program to Allow Others to Access Images of Child Pornography

Roanoke, VIRGINIA – A Roanoke man, who used a peer-to-peer file sharing network that allowed others to access his images of hard core child pornography, pled guilty today in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, Acting United States Attorney Rick A. Mountcastle announced.


William Rhodes, a.k.a. “Billy Rhodes,” a.k.a. “BillRho,” a.k.a. “hel_yeh1,” age 26, of Roanoke, Va., pled guilty today to one count of knowingly distributing or receiving or attempting to distribute or receive child pornography.


“Mr. Rhodes made available vile images of child pornography and chatted with others who shared in his perverse interest in such material,” Acting United States Attorney Mountcastle said today. “I am thankful to the investigators in Texas and Virginia for working quickly and cooperatively in locating this defendant. I am also grateful to the prosecutors in this case for bringing this defendant to justice before he could hurt any more children through further distribution of these disturbing images.”


According to a factual statement filed today in court by Assistant United States Attorney Nancy S. Healey, on March 23, 2014, an undercover task force officer with the Federal Bureau of Investigation working in Texas, accessed a peer-to-peer file sharing network, and identified a computer with a particular IP address as a potential source of files associated with hash values previously known to belong to images of child pornography. The undercover agent successfully downloaded 1,432 images from this torrent, the vast majority of which depicted prepubescent females engaged in sexually explicit conduct and sadistic abuse, including depictions of infants and toddlers.


On September 10, 2014, an FBI task force officer working in Richmond downloaded approximately 320 images from the same torrent from a different IP address. The investigation revealed that the downloads were associated with the same Roanoke, Virginia address.


A search warrant was executed at that Roanoke residence in the early morning hours of February 2, 2015. The defendant, William Rhodes, was the adult son of the homeowners and was living at the home. He was briefly interviewed during the search and told investigators he knew why there were there, without specifically mentioning the downloading of child pornography.


A forensic examination of the defendant’s computer conducted by the Virginia State Police revealed substantial corroborating evidence that proved the defendant was the person responsible for the downloads conducted by the task force officers, including Skype chat evidence suggesting that the defendant had transferred videos from the same torrent to another individual.


The investigation of the case was conducted by Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Virginia State Police and the Roanoke City Police. Assistant United States Attorney Nancy S. Healey and Jessica Urban, U.S. Department of Justice, Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, are prosecuting the case for the United States.

Project Safe Childhood
Updated February 14, 2017