Crime

‘Recruit more pedophiles.’ Columbus mechanic sentenced in multi-state child porn sting

Federal program targets online child predators

The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force was developed federally in 1998 as the number of children and teenagers using the internet increased and child sexual abuse images became available electronically, authorities say.
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The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force was developed federally in 1998 as the number of children and teenagers using the internet increased and child sexual abuse images became available electronically, authorities say.

One of the child porn videos authorities caught Kerry Dewain Williams with in 2016 purportedly showed sex with a 3-year-old, and had the label “please share child porn – help me recruit more pedophiles,” according to his Feb. 26 indictment.

The Columbus mechanic, now 60 years old, was among 20 Georgia suspects arrested in an online sting called “Operation Southern Impact,” a two-state, three-month investigation focusing on those accused of possessing and distributing child pornography or otherwise using the internet to sexually exploit children.

The sting was organized by Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces in Georgia and in Alabama.

Arrested Nov. 3, 2016, Williams was charged with 10 counts of sexually exploiting children based on videos investigators found on his computer, two labeled as showing sex with a 5-year-old girl, another claiming to show sex involving a 10-year-old.

Williams was facing five to 20 years in prison on each count. Last week he pleaded guilty to all 10 charges, and Judge Bobby Peters sentenced him to 15 years total with five to serve in prison and the rest on probation.

Williams was the only Columbus resident arrested in the 2016 sting that nabbed 30 suspects in Alabama and Georgia ranging in age from 22 to 73. Others in Georgia included people from Atlanta, Cumming, Swainsboro, Savannah and Valdosta.

Authorities conducted 54 searches, examined 162 digital devices and seized 731 as evidence during the operation, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Among the area agencies involved were Columbus police, the Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office and the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office.

Tim Chitwood is from Seale, Ala., and started as a police beat reporter with the Ledger-Enquirer in 1982. He since has covered Columbus’ serial killings and other homicides, following some from the scene of the crime to trial verdicts and ensuing appeals. He also has been a Ledger-Enquirer humor columnist since 1987. He’s a graduate of Auburn University, and started out working for the weekly Phenix Citizen in Phenix City, Ala.
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