Strongsville Priest Facing More Sex Charges

(Cleveland) A federal grand jury released an eight-count indictment against Strongsville Priest Robert D. McWilliams, 39.

McWilliams, who was previously charged in state court with child pornography offenses, is now also facing two counts of Sex Trafficking of a Minor, three counts of Sexual Exploitation of Children, one count of Transportation of Child Pornography, one count of Receipt and Distribution of Visual Depictions of Real Minors Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct and one count of Possession of Child Pornography.

After allegedly engaging in sexually explicit conduct and behavior, McWilliams was taken into custody on Dec. 5, 2019 at his Strongsville church, St. Joseph Catholic Church on Pearl Road. He faces charges in both Geauga and Cuyahoga County as he also had ties with St. Helen Catholic Church in Geauga County.

Court documents from 2017-2019 showed McWilliams engaged in sexually explicit conduct and behavior involving minors. McWilliams is alleged to have pretended to be a female on various social media sites while contacting and threatening young males from the two parishes from which he was priest. He also is alleged to have used the social networking website to meet a minor male victim, whom he paid multiple times for sexual acts.

Approximately 1700 images and videos of child pornography and 150 files of child pornography were found on a Dropbox cloud storage account in McWilliams possession.

“Allegations of child exploitation against a trusted member of the religious community has long-term reverberations beyond just the criminal acts of the accused,” said Vance Callender, special agent in charge of HSI Detroit. “Identifying people who violate their positions of public trust will always be a priority for those in HSI that investigate child exploitation.”

If you have knowledge of McWilliams' contact with minors, please contact Homeland Security Investigations at (216) 749-9602.

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