Roanoke man sentenced to 10 years on child pornography charge

By Nuoya Zhou
Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved

ROANOKE, Va. - A Roanoke man was sentenced on Tuesday for using a file-sharing network that allowed others to access his images of hardcore child pornography.

William Rhodes, 26, also known as Billy Rhodes, BillRho and hel_yeh1, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison, to be followed by 15 years of supervised release. He previously pleaded guilty to one count of knowingly distributing or receiving or attempting to distribute or receive child pornography.

In 2014, an undercover agent successfully downloaded 1,432 images from a torrent, the vast majority of which depicted prepubescent females engaged in sexually explicit conduct and sadistic abuse, including depictions of infants and toddlers, according to a factual statement filed in court.

On September 10, 2014, an FBI task force officer working in Richmond downloaded approximately 320 images from the same torrent from a different IP address. The investigation revealed that the downloads were associated with the same Roanoke, Virginia, address.

A search warrant was executed at that Roanoke residence in the early morning hours of February 2, 2015. The defendant, William Rhodes, was the adult son of the homeowners and was living at the home.

He was briefly interviewed during the search and told investigators he knew why they were there, without specifically mentioning the downloading of child pornography.

A forensic examination of the defendant’s computer conducted by the Virginia State Police revealed substantial corroborating evidence that proved the defendant was the person responsible for the downloads conducted by the task force officers, including Skype chat evidence suggesting that the defendant had transferred videos from the same torrent to another individual.

Copyright 2017 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.