Wednesday, June 19, 2013

"Dangerous" American pedophile nabbed in Playa del Carmen

On FBI 10 Most Wanted list for only one day

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo -
U.S. national Walter Lee Williams, described by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as an "extremely dangerous" pedophile, was arrested here last night by a strike force team of Mexican agents.

Williams, 64, faces federal charges of child sexual abuse and exploitation in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles . The U.S. had offered a reward of $100,000 for his capture. Williams was just placed on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list Monday.

Williams was taken into custody in a mid-town park about 8:30 p.m. The operation was carried out by armed units from the Quintana Roo state prosecutor's office and the state judicial police.

U.S. authorities claim Williams frequently traveled between countries in search of new victims. Q.E. state prosecutor Armando García Torres said in a press conference that he was turned over to INM, Mexico's federal immigration authority.

Williams was a tenured professor of anthropology at the University of Southern California until 2011. Sources report his field of expertise was gender development. Authorities did not say if Williams is still on the USC payroll.

Although prosecutor Torres offered minimal details of the operation, it appears that investigators had been actively searching for Williams along the Riviera Maya coast. He referred to an "exchange of information and collaboration between international and national authorities" which led to the arrest.

Torres acknowledged that FBI agents were in Playa, but did not say whether they had participated in surveillance or were present when Williams was taken into custody in the park, where officers found him drinking coffee.

Torres said that Williams had been dividing his time between residences in Cancún and Playa. The prosecutor said he did not know how long Williams had been in Mexico.

"We don't know if Williams belongs to a network of child sex abusers, but we'll continue to work with American authorities as this investigation continues," added Torrres.

Williams grimaced during his first appearance before Public Ministry officials in Quintana Roo

Spanish press sources have reported that Williams belonged to the Buddhist Universal Association of Los Angeles, and often traveled to Asia, especially the Philippines. Federal prosecutors charge that Williams visited the islands in 2011, where he had sex with two 14 year old boys. He allegedly met the boys online in 2010.

A website operated by the Association encourages followers to "live in the moment, accept yourself and question authority."

Williams is said to have spent time in Indonesia, Polynesia and Thailand, and is familiar with Mexico and Peru, according to reports. He is a native of Durham, North Carolina.

Torres did not indicate whether Mexican prosecutors believe Williams may have also committed sex crimes against minors in this country. Under U.S. statutes, foreign travel by American citizens which results in sexual contact with a person under 18 is a felony, punishable by 30 years in federal prison.

A Los Angeles judge issued an arrest warrant for Williams April 30 based on those laws, which give federal courts unlimited jurisdiction irrespective of where the sexual acts occurred or the victims live.

FBI agent Jeff Yesensky said Monday that Williams "preyed on the most vulnerable children."

June 20 - Williams was returned to Los Angeles last evening, in the company of two FBI agents.

June 21 - A Mexican citizen may receive the $100K reward offered for information leading to Williams' arrest, according to an FBI official in Los Angeles. The unidentified tipster noticed the suspect's photo in a Mexican newspaper, and realized he/she knew Williams, or knew he was in the Cancún-Playa del Carmen area. Prosecutors claim Williams victimized at least 10 minors abroad, sometimes video recording sex acts with them.

June 15 - Canadian faces life sentence in Cuban sex tourism case

May 27, 2012 - Gay readers share candid thoughts on gay sex tourism in Mérida
Jan. 18, 2013 - "Violence on Yucatán soil" - against foreigners
Feb. 15, 2013 - American expat murdered in Mérida had sex with 17 year old boy just before he died

© MGRR 2013. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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