CEDAR RAPIDS — A federal judge Friday said he didn’t know of a worse crime committed against children — except “taking another’s life or torturing” them — than the way a Cedar Rapids man sexually abused and exploited minors in degrading ways.
U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams said the conduct of William Louis Meyer, 66, was “horrendous and egregious” as he took advantage of multiple “vulnerable victims” who lived in poverty in the Philippines, lacking the “basic essentials of life.”
Meyer knew firsthand of their plight because he gained access to the minors through his work with a global charitable organizations.
“He inflicted incalculable damage to these victims,” Williams said during Meyer’s sentencing.
Williams sentenced Meyer to the maximum 30 years in federal prison. He also ordered him to pay a special assessment of $5,000, which goes to victims of human trafficking, and a fine of $50,000. He also will be required to be listed as a sex offender for life and serve five years of supervised release following prison.
Meyer pleaded guilty in February to one count of sexual exploitation of children. During that 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.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Tremmel, in asking the court to sentence Meyer to the maximum term, said at least six children who were sexually assaulted and exploited over a number of years in the Philippines.
Tremmel said Meyer would refer to himself as a “daddy” figure but would ask children to do degrading acts or sexually abuse them. He also was involved in livestreaming the sexual acts.
Jill Johnston, Meyer’s lawyer, asked the court to sentence her client to the mandatory minimum of 15 years, arguing that would be a life sentence for him.
She admitted Meyer’s conduct was “egregious” but he was remorseful for his actions and the positive things in his life were mitigating factors for the court to consider.
Johnston said Meyer served in the military during the Vietnam War, was a “respected” employee for 33 years with the Federal Aviation Administration and gave back to his community through his global charity and church work.
Meyer, during sentencing, said his “actions were wrong, and I will accept the judgment of the court.” He also apologized for the “embarrassment and pain” he caused his family, friends, God and community.
Meyer said he has “corrected his behavior” over the past 12 months while in jail and prays and reads the Bible daily.
Meyer received several enhancements, which increases his prison time, because he had multiple victims who were minors — three being under the age of 12. He had a pattern of conduct and sexual contact with the victims, used a computer in sexual exploitation and used sadistic or masochistic materials, according to evidence at the hearing.
Meyer was caught during a Philippines investigation when the Federal Bureau of Investigation 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 and totaled $102,634, the complaint showed.
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