Bond hearing for local priest arrested on child porn charges

By Peggy Gallek
December 17, 2019

[with video]

A prosecutor is urging a judge not to reduce the bond of a local priest who was arrested earlier this month on child pornography charges.

Father Robert McWilliams, was arrested Dec. 5, at St. Joseph Parish in Strongsville. He is facing several charges, including three counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance.

An assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor says there are allegations in Geauga County that the priest posed as a stranger to extort children into sending him nude videos and pictures.  Additional charges could be filed soon.

McWilliams, who remains held in the Cuyahoga County jail, has entered not guilty pleas and his attorney has asked for his $50,000 bond to be reduced.

A hearing was held Tuesday afternoon, but Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Carl Sullivan is objecting to any reduction in bond.

“This incident involves a priest, with access to children on a daily basis who is sending and receiving child pornography,” Sullivan wrote in a motion filed with the court. “Also, based upon these charges, the defendant will no longer be able to reside in Strongsville and most likely will leave the county if released.”

When detectives arrested McWilliams they also seized phone and computer equipment tied to pornography.

The prosecutor noted in his motion that after “completing the triage and forensic of the devices, the weight of the evidence is extremely relevant to what was found.”

A judge said he will make a decision by the end of the week.


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