Crime

Harrodsburg man one of two convicted as part of child-porn conspiracy ring

William Staples
William Staples

A Harrodsburg man was one of two men convicted in Pennsylvania this week of being involved in a child-pornography conspiracy.

William Staples, 57, was found guilty of conspiracy to advertise child pornography, conspiracy to receive-distribute child pornography and aiding and abetting the receipt-distribution of child pornography.

Dylan Heatherly, 34, a student in Lemon Grove, Calif., was also convicted in the trial in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg, Pa.

The two men were part of a group that set up a video conferencing website to live stream child porn. A dozen other men pleaded guilty in 2016 and 2017 and another man died before his case went to trial.

Prosecutors said that between April 2014 and May 2016, Staples and Heatherly worked with the other men across the county to create a secure space on a website where people could live-stream child-porn videos to each other.

In July 2015, a Toronto police officer working undercover saw a 6-year-old being sexually abused on the site. Other site users were commenting and encouraging further abuse of the child in real-time, prosecutors said.

Testimony by cyber investigator Tom Bell with the Kentucky Attorney General’s office proved that Staples, Heatherly and the other co-conspirators created a secure space on the website and minimized any evidence of the pornography on their devices.

A sentencing date for Staples and Heatherly has not been scheduled.

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