A former youth pastor from Clarksville appeared in court Tuesday afternoon accused of stalking and threatening harm to two teenage girls if they did not perform sexual acts for him online.
An automatic plea of not guilty was entered on behalf of 47-year-old Ronald Wayne Williams. Clark County Magistrate Kenneth Abbott set bond at $100,000 cash-only, and appointed a public defender to represent Williams.
According to a probable-cause affidavit, detectives literally caught Williams with his pants down.
Acting on a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Greenwood Police Department learned that a man was attempting to coerce a 15-year-old girl into performing sex acts on her webcam as he watched.
Detectives took over the girl’s e-mail account and reportedly used evidence from their conversations to trace the suspect to the 2800 block of Blackiston Mill Road and Williams’ computer.
With search warrant in hand, detectives from the Indiana State Police, Greewood Police Department and Clark County Sheriff’s Department knocked on the door to Williams’ residence. Court records state that officer saw Williams pulling up his pants as he walked to answer the door.
Once inside, detectives found Williams’ laptop computer with a live video feed of a partially nude 16-year-old girl performing sex acts. There were also beer bottles and empty food containers, along with about 20 2-liter plastic bottles filled with urine, indicating he may have not wanted to leave his computer to use the restroom.
A detective took over the chat and asked the girl to call the police department. She called and agreed to speak with detectives at the Clark County Sheriff’s Department.
The 16-year-old alleged victim said Williams added her as a friend on MySpace.com in April. She added him because he said he was old friend of her parents. He then allegedly began sending her messages asking her to go on her Webcam and get naked, saying he had embarrassing pictures of her he would spread all over the school if she did not comply.
When she refused, he allegedly threatened to rape her.
In May, she heard the sound of a car honking behind her house. She said Williams messaged her that night, asking if she had heard him honking. She said she feared for her safety and began complying with his demands.
She told police that she began ignoring his messages in July until one day when she went to a swimming pool in Corydon. She said Williams messaged her that night, describing what she and others at the pool were wearing that day. Another day, he said he had seen her at the mall.
The 16-year-old alleged victim saw Williams’ picture for the first time when detectives showed it to her. She said she knew him from church when she was in elementary school and that she had played with his daughters as a child.
Clark County Sheriff’s Department Detective Rachael Lee, who investigated the case, said it is a reminder for parents to watch what their children are doing online.
“I do recommend parents get on their kids’ computers periodically,” she said.
Lee said many laptop computer now come with built-in Webcams, but parents are often unaware of that.
“Some don’t even know their computers have that capability,” she said.
Lee said Williams had been a youth pastor at Georgetown Community Church and more recently Henryville Community Church. Lee said she spoke with church officials in Henryville, who said Williams was removed from his position about a year ago, although she did not say why he was removed.
A message left at the Henryville church late Tuesday afternoon was not returned, while the number listed in a phone director for the Georgetown church had been disconnected.
Williams is charged with 12 felony counts — class C felony child exploitation; three counts of class C felony child solicitation; three counts of class D felony vicarious sexual gratification; three counts of class D felony intimidation; and two counts of class D felony stalking.
He faces 12 to 56 years in prison if convicted on all counts.