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Judge describes ex-officer's child porn case as 'disturbing'

Man accused of paying woman for images of her 3-year-old daughter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Former Jacksonville police officer Michael Williams faced a federal judge Friday on child pornography and was ordered held without bond.

Williams, 59, was arrested this week after federal agents discovered he was paying a woman for pornographic images of her 3-year-old daughter. He was charged with sex trafficking of a child, three counts of publishing notice or seeking advertisement of sexually explicit images of minor and three counts of transportation of visual depiction of minor engaging in sexual activity.

At a detention hearing, the defense argued that Williams' girlfriend could serve a monitor if he was released until trial, but federal Judge Monte Richardson said that woman had not monitored his previous actions that got him arrested.

Richardson found that Williams could be a danger to society, adding the accusations to be, "disturbing. There's no other way to put it."

RELATED: Ex-JSO officer arrested on child porn charges

According to a 63-page criminal complaint, on July 7, officers from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at Williams’s home after receiving information that he was uploading child pornography for sharing to Google Drive.

Agents seized Williams' cellphone and a tablet and said that they found Williams had been text messaging a woman in Texas who was producing pornographic images of her 3-year-old daughter for Williams in exchange for money that Williams wired to her.

Williams had 23 sustained complaints against him in his 17 years with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, according to a 6-page report obtained by News4Jax Wednesday. 

Williams worked for JSO from 1994 to 2011 and 43 complaints were made against him, according JSO records.

More than half -- 23 complaints -- were sustained or found to be true, the document shows.

"Some officers receive more. Some officers receive less. But in a 16-year period, that is a lot," said Gil Smith, News4Jax crime and safety analyst. 

The report details complaints ranging from Williams taking "improper actions," "unbecoming conduct," and a complaint in 2009 for having repeat infractions.

"In 2009, after a violation, he was referred to an Employee Assistance Program, which means he was having some type of person issues and the department felt like he was salvageable," Smith said.

Williams resigned from the Sheriff's Office in 2011. He was under investigation at the time, according to the document obtained from JSO. 

Williams was previously arrested in Clay County in 2010 and 2011 on charges of felony battery and violating a domestic violence injunction three times.

If convicted on all counts, Williams, who is not related to Sheriff Mike Williams, faces a minimum mandatory term of 20 years, up to 60 years, in federal prison.

Williams is being held pending a detention hearing scheduled before U.S. Magistrate Judge Monte C. Richardson on Friday at 2:30 p.m. 

A criminal complaint is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

There's no word on what happened to the little girl. Her mother is being prosecuted by the state of Texas, according to authorities.

This case was investigated by Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

It is another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc.


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