Public Safety

Cedar Rapids man convicted of sex exploitation of children

He was nabbed in Philippines investigation involving livestreaming sex abuse of minors

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man was convicted Tuesday of sexual exploitation of children after authorities last year connected him to a Philippines investigation involving livestreaming sex abuse of minors.

William Louis Meyer, 65, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of sexual exploitation of children. During the hearing, he admitted that from 2012 to May 2019 he induced and enticed victims under age 18 to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing and livestreaming the acts.

U.S. District Magistrate Judge Mark Roberts, during the hearing, said Meyer faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years and possibly up to 30 years in federal prison. He also faces a fine of up to $250,000 or more and at least five years of supervised release following his prison term.         

During a Philippines investigation, the FBI Violent Crimes Against Children International Task Force obtained information about people viewing livestreams of minors being sexually abused, according to a criminal complaint. A PayPal account belonging to Meyer had made several money transfers to people in the Philippines, including a family being investigated or arrested for sex exploitation of children.

Meyer’s money transfers were sent from January 2012 through August 2014, totaling $102,634, the complaint shows.

On Dec 31, 2016, and March 2, 2017, Meyer attempted to send money to an adult female member of the family using another wire option. But the money transfers were canceled because Meyer, who told authorities he is retired and does work for his church, refused to provide documentation for the source of funds, FBI Special Agent Casey Maxted said in the complaint’s affidavit. The woman is associated with people known to engage or set up “webcam child sex tourism,” he said.

Special Agent Michael McVey, of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, interviewed Meyer outside his home and in the agent’s car July 3 because he admitted to sending money to the Philippines but didn’t tell his wife.

Meyer said he stays with this family when he travels to the Philippines, and has sent money for food, medicine and school supplies.

Meyer also admitted to talking to this family weekly, sometimes several times a week, and most recently within the last week, the complaint shows. He usually communicated with them on his cellphone and desktop computer, using Skype, according to the complaint.

Authorities seized his two computers, hard drive and his cellphone July 3, the complaint states. A forensic examiner found an image of a nude underage girl with a timestamp from May on a computer but didn’t know when the image was taken. Meyer’s hard drive also had a “limited number” of images of child pornography.

Meyer’s Skype communications contained child pornography with victims, ranging in age from 6 to 14, according to the complaint.

Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com