Former Malvern school trustee pleads guilty to federal child pornography charge

A former high school counselor pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to one count of attempted production of child pornography, which could lead to a 30-year prison sentence.

Jonathan Williams, 41, of Malvern was arrested on January 14, 2020 at the Hot Spring County Sheriff’s Office by FBI agents conducting an online undercover operation. He pleaded guilty to the charge contained in a federal indictment Wednesday afternoon before U.S. District Judge Brian Miller.

According to Assistant US Attorney Kristin Bryant, on July 24, 2019, an undercover FBI agent posted an online ad titled “Finding a Like-Minded Family, No Limits,” to which a social network user replied the same day. Online dating app “Grindr”, with the username “Horny”, which dates back to Williams.

“Horny contacted undercover and indicated he was responding to online advertising,” said Bryant. The undercover later informed the user, Horny, that the alleged undercover son was nine years old and the undercover sent a stock photo of the alleged nine year old lying in bed with his pennies on. -clothes.”

Bryant said the conversation then moved to the mobile messaging app, Kik, and quickly became sexually explicit in nature, Williams, under the username JDCappsXXX, requesting various sexual acts involving the child.

“JDCapps and Horny were identified as Mr. Williams, who lived in Donaldson, Ark.,” Said Bryant. “Mr. Williams was identified on August 14, 2019 (…) and provided details of the recent conversation he had with the infiltration.”

Bryant said Williams, when questioned by the FBI, admitted to asking the undercover agent to pull down the boy’s underwear to expose his buttocks and masturbate in front of the child via the Kik Messenger app, and said he had admitted to having received an image of a child. pornography from an unknown Grindr user which he then deleted.

“Mr. Williams admitted to downloading the Tor browser and using it to watch videos of men having sex with underage children,” Bryant continued. “Mr. Williams said he didn’t like what he saw but admitted to watching several videos at length.”

“Did you listen to the statement of the American lawyer? Miller asked Williams.

“Yes sir,” Williams replied.

“Was his statement correct?” Miller asked.

“I’m not proud of it, but yes sir,” said Williams.

“How do you plead to count one of the indictments of January 9, 2020?” Miller asked the accused.

“Guilty,” Williams replied.

“Did you, in fact, commit the offense charged in this indictment? Miller asked.

“Yes, sir,” Williams said, his voice lowered.

Bryant told Miller that no written plea agreement existed between Williams and the government, but that the government would agree to a 15-year sentence, which is the mandatory minimum jail time for the offense, in return for the plea of Williams, which was confirmed by Williams. attorney, Tyler CM Tapp III of Hot Springs.

“There is an agreement with the government,” Tapp said. “But there is no written agreement.”

“So the extent of the deal you have pending is that you won’t object to a recommendation at the lower end of the statutory range?” Miller asked Bryant.

“Yes, at age 15,” replied Bryant.

“Your Honor, it’s actually below,” Tapp began, “that is, the regulatory range is below the reference range.”

“I understand,” Miller said. “So if the recommended range is higher than the legal range, the government will not object to me giving it the mandatory minimum, what is the deal?” “

“Yes, sir,” Tapp confirmed.

Miller explained to Williams that because the federal prison system does not provide for parole, a 15-year court sentence requires a minimum of 85% of the sentence to be served before eligibility “at the right time. Can be calculated for good. behviour.

Tapp asked Miller if he could expedite the pre-sentence investigation and subsequent sentencing hearing to get Williams out of Miller County jail, where he is being held prior to sentencing. Tapp said Williams is currently in isolation at Miller County Jail for his own protection.

“I think things will be better for everyone once he is finally sentenced,” Tapp said.

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