Wednesday, July 2, 2008

William Phillips ~ Delaware predator

New Castle man charged with creating child porn
By SEAN O'SULLIVAN • The News Journal • July 1, 2008

WILMINGTON -- A New Castle man who has been in federal detention since February on charges of possession of child pornography has now been federally charged with creating child porn.

U.S. Attorney Colm F. Connolly today unsealed a superseding indictment against William A. Phillips, 41, for 14 counts of production of child pornography and 11 counts of interstate travel with the intent to engage in a sexual act with a child less than 12 years old.

According to Connolly and New Castle County Police Chief Rick Gregory at a press conference this morning, investigators originally seized more than 250,000 images and 1,200 videos during a search at Phillips home in February.

After Phillips was arraigned and ordered detained in federal court pending trial on possession-related child porn charges, investigators, while reviewing the evidence, realized Phillips had apparently been creating as well as attempting to trade in obscene images of children engaged in sexual acts.

“The phrase ‘child predator’ is an apt one. They see children as prey. We need to make sure these hunters feel like prey,” said Connolly, adding that the best way to do that and make people like Phillips feel vulnerable is through aggressive investigations and prosecutions.

Connolly said investigators recovered at least one video of two minor girls - identified at Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 - and thousands of still images allegedly created by Phillips.

After this discovery, police returned to Phillips’ home with a new search warrant in June and recovered items that could be seen in the video and images.

This included furniture, women and children's clothing, make up, a comforter, sex toys and "handcuffs with a belt," according to court papers.

Connolly said they have identified some, but not all of the children victimized by Phillips.

He would not say how many have been identified and how many they are still seeking to identify -- citing rules about protecting the identity of victims -- nothing that police have still not completed a review of the vast number of obscene images and videos.

However, Connolly said most have likely been identified and the final number of victims will be a small amount.

He asked anyone who may have information about children that may have been victimized by Phillips to call either New Castle County Police Detective Jason Wilson at 395-8110 or FBI Special Agent Michelle Taylor at 658-4391.

The case against Phillips was one of the first undertaken by New Castle County's three-person Cyber Crimes Unit that was established last year, Gregory said.

Phillips was originally charged with one count of possession of child pornography, two counts of attempted distribution, four counts of receipt of child pornography and four counts of possession of obscene image. The distribution and receipt charges each carry a minimum mandatory five-year sentence, if convicted and a maximum sentence of up to 20 years and a $250,000 fine.

The possession count carries a maximum charge of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The new charges against Phillips carry heavier potential sanctions. The production counts set a minimum prison term of 15 years, if convicted and up to 30 years with a $250,000 fine. The interstate travel charge to engage in a sexual act with a child has a minimum punishment of up to 30 years and a maximum of up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The travel is alleged to have occurred between Nov. 2001 and Oct. 2005. The video was believed produced between April 2000 and April 2003. The explicit still photos were allegedly created between Nov. 2003 and Oct. 2005.

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