TODAY’S SUNDAY SERMON
Prosecutors said Robert McWilliams led a double life. While professing his belief in Christianity at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Strongsville and St. Helen’s Church in Newbury Township, Father McWilliams was using fake identifies and technology to hide his abuse of children and secret criminal lifestyle.
McWilliams pleaded guilty in July to federal charges that include sex trafficking of minors, exploitation of a child, and possession and distribution of child pornography. Federal prosecutors are recommending a sentence of no less 40 years.
“McWilliams’ criminal conduct is multi-faceted and unprecedented. He is a consumer of child pornography, and an extortionist who violated the sacrament of confession to obtain information he later used, under aliases, to seek the production of sexually explicit material from boys he was ‘counseling,’ and he was a juvenile sex trafficker. McWilliams targeted a vulnerable population that is also our most valuable resource: our children. His conduct is beyond serious and demands an appropriately lengthy sentence,” assistant U.S. attorney Carol Skutnik wrote.
“He was cunning, calculating and extremely cruel. Only a sociopath could accept the hospitality of a family, only to disappear into another room to transmit images of a victim to his mother so he could witness the pain inflicted upon his hosts. Yet, this was just the tip of the iceberg… McWilliams amassed a disturbing collection of child pornography, extorted teenage boys for sexually explicit images, and provided compensation to two other teen boys in exchange for sexual acts.” Assistant U.S. Attorney Carol Skutnik wrote in a pre-sentence report.
“With the sentencing of Rev. Robert McWilliams scheduled to occur next week, the diocese would like to once again offer prayers for those affected by the actions of McWilliams and to express gratitude to those in law enforcement and the judicial system who have worked to ensure that justice is served and that McWilliams’ wrongdoing is justly punished,” the diocese said in a statement.
The priest will be sentenced next Tuesday. His attorney said McWilliams should get therapy and that the priest is “a good candidate for successful sex offender treatment.” 180 months are mandatory.
The Cleveland diocese is seeking to remove McWilliams from what the Catholic Church calls “the clerical state.” Put simply, it is pushing to remove him from the priesthood. McWilliams was arrested December 5, 2019.
Also WKYC has an excellent report.