Strongsville priest to plead guilty to federal child porn charges

Father Robert McWilliams (Source: WOIO)
Father Robert McWilliams (Source: WOIO)((Source: WOIO))
Published: Jul. 2, 2021 at 11:54 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 2, 2021 at 12:31 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -The attorney for a Strongsville priest facing federal charges of child pornography, child exploitation and juvenile sex trafficking has filed a notice of intent to plead guilty in the U.S. Court for the Northern District.

Robert McWilliams was taken into custody on Dec. 5, 2019 at his Strongsville church, St. Joseph. He was also affiliated with St. Helen’s in Geauga County.

Robert McWilliams was taken into custody on Dec. 5, 2019 at his Strongsville church, St. Joseph.
Robert McWilliams was taken into custody on Dec. 5, 2019 at his Strongsville church, St. Joseph. (Source: WOIO)

Investigators seized his laptop, cellphone, and an iPad during the search at St. Joseph and discovered approximately 1,700 images and videos of child pornography, including a video of an infant boy being bound and raped.

Federal officials said McWilliams pretended to be a female on social media sites to make contact with minor male victims he knew from both parishes.

He then had the juvenile males send sexually explicit photographs and videos and threatened to expose embarrassing information about them if they did not send the images, according to court documents.

Additionally, McWilliams allegedly used the social networking website Grindr.com to meet a minor male victim, whom he paid multiple times for sex.

The plea hearing is scheduled for July 16.

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