Ex-JSO officer sentenced for sex trafficking of 3-year-old girl

Michael Williams, 61, pleaded guilty to offense in June

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A former Jacksonville police officer who pleaded guilty to soliciting a Texas woman to sexually abuse her 3-year-old daughter was sentenced to life in prison, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Tuesday.

Michael Williams, 61, pleaded guilty to commercial sex trafficking of a child on June 5.

Officials with the U.S. Attorney's Office said the court also ordered Williams to pay $194,905.17 in restitution to the minor victim, and ordered him to forfeit electronic devices used in the crime, including a cellular telephone, an electronic tablet and an internet router.

From at least Feb. 25, 2016, through Sept. 28, 2016, Williams solicited an adult woman in Texas to sexually abuse her 3-year-old daughter, take photographs of the abuse and sell the photographs to him, according to court documents.

An investigation of Williams began in late May 2016 when an Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force detective with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office received a cyber tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, officials said. The tip established that Williams was sharing child pornography.

Officials said the JSO obtained a search warrant for Williams' home and found more than 450 images and videos of child pornography on his cellphone.

A JSO forensic examiner also found text communications between Williams and an adult woman in Texas beginning in January 2016 and continuing through July 7, 2016, officials said. During this time period, there were approximately 337 messages, mostly sexual in nature, between Williams and the woman about her daughter.

Officials said Williams repeatedly requested more explicit pornographic pictures and videos of the minor for money, urging the mother to engage in sexual acts with her child and to have the child perform sexual acts on others and film the activity.

Williams sent at least 19 Western Union wire transfers to the mother for the payment of visual depictions of the minor's sexual abuse, which were funded by Williams' retirement income from his career as a JSO officer, officials said.

Homeland Security Investigations and the JSO contacted Texas law enforcement officials upon discovery of the depictions of sexual abuse of the then 4-year-old. Officials said the child was removed from the abusive environment.

The mother indicated in an interview she had recently been in contact with Williams via Kik messenger and that she had communicated with him as recently as September 2016, officials said.

A federal search warrant was executed Oct. 21, 2016, at Williams' home, where agents discovered his newly obtained cellphone containing additional sexually explicit videos of the 4-year-old child and messages in which Williams indicated his desire to perform sexual acts on the child, officials said.

"This is one of the most heinous crimes imaginable," said James C. Spero, HSI Tampa special agent in charge. "Thanks to HSI special agents and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, this criminal will no longer be able to sexually abuse children."

The Texas woman pleaded guilty to two counts of production of child pornography in federal court (Northern District of Texas). Officials said she was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison.

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