Priest accused of having child porn faces new charges

Priest accused of having child porn faces new charges

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A Cleveland-area Catholic priest arrested in December was accused of several new charges, including sex trafficking involving a minor, federal prosecutors said Friday.

CLEVELAND — A Cleveland-area Catholic priest arrested in December was accused of several new charges, including sex trafficking involving a minor, federal prosecutors said Friday.

A criminal complaint filed in federal court also charged Father Robert McWilliams with receiving or distributing child pornography and sexual exploitation of children.

Federal investigators said in a court document that McWilliams, 39, would pretend to be a female on social media and entice boys to send sexually explicit photographs and videos. He also met with a boy on several occasions and paid him for sex, prosecutors said.

A message seeking comment on the new charges was left with his public defender.

Authorities arrested McWilliams in December at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Strongsville, where he was a parochial vicar at the church’s school. The church then placed him on administrative leave.

McWilliams in January pleaded not guilty to 21 child pornography-related counts. He has not made any statements since his arrest.

Then-Bishop Nelson Perez said in a statement after the arrest that “all of us feel tremendous emotions of shock, disappointment and confusion.”


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