A Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty Thursday to violating federal child pornography laws by videotaping the genitals of unsuspecting young boys earlier this year, as they used urinals in the bathrooms at the I-95 rest stops in Harford and Cecil counties.
Brian Matthew Williams, 28, of West Chester, Pa., pleaded guilty to receipt of child pornography in Baltimore Federal District County, according to a news release from the office of Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.
According to a statement of facts attached to his plea agreement, on May 6, 2012, Williams spent nearly five hours at the Maryland House rest stop near Aberdeen and the Chesapeake House rest stop near North East going in and out of the men's restrooms filming several minor males, most of whom were prepubescent, as they used the urinals.
Williams positioned himself at an adjacent urinal and used his cellular telephone to create 21 videos focused on the genitals of minor males, prosecutors said. "Two of the videos depict two minor males urinating and captures images of one of the prepubescent minor male's exposed penis."
According to the statement of facts, Williams positioned himself near the urinals and used his HTC EVO 4G cell phone and a Transcend 8 GB Micro SD card to make the images.
After capturing the images of the minor males using the urinals, the U.S. Attorney Office's news release states, Williams would exit the restroom and wait for the minor males to walk out, then capture full length images of the minor males, including their faces.
After the parents of one of the victims reported Williams' suspicious behavior to Maryland State Police, he was arrested, charged in Cecil County and released on bond the same day.
On June 13, 2012, a search warrant was executed at Williams' residence and computers and other digital media were seized, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. A forensic analysis of those items revealed that a number of hard drives appeared to have been removed and on the remaining hard drive the operating system had been reinstalled on May 28, 2012.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said a subsequent background investigation of Williams revealed that he had been questioned by law enforcement on two previous occasions under similar circumstances.
In 2007, Williams was contacted by law enforcement after they received several complaints about him following minors into the restroom at a college basketball game, prosecutors said. In June 2010, Williams was questioned and released after an off-duty police officer saw him in the restroom of a movie theater pointing his cell phone at the genitals of minor males using the urinals.
Williams was indicted by a federal grand jury in June on four counts of production and possession of child pornography in connection with the incidents at the two rest stops. Prosecutors said at the time at least 11 unidentified juveniles were in the seized videos. They urged the anyone who was at either rest stop on the afternoon of May 6 to call Maryland State Police.
Under Thursday's guilty plea, Williams faces a minimum mandatory sentence of five years in prison and a maximum of 20 years in prison, followed by up to lifetime of supervised release, for receipt of child pornography, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
The prosecutor's office said Williams and the government have agreed that if the court accepts the plea, a sentence of between 10 and 14 years in prison, followed by up to a lifetime of supervised release, "is the appropriate disposition of the case."
U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander has scheduled sentencing for Feb. 1, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. in the federal courthouse in Baltimore.
"This defendant egregiously violated the privacy of young boys by secretly recording them in public restrooms, a crime that gives every parent nightmares," Rosenstein said in the news release. "I am grateful to the vigilant citizen who noticed the unusual behavior and immediately called 9-1-1, and to the police and prosecutors who conducted an urgent investigation."