A former University of Southern California professor once on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted fugitives list was sentenced to five years in federal prison on Monday for traveling to the Philippines and sexually assaulting underage boys he had met online.
Walter Lee Williams, 66, was apprehended by Mexican authorities in Playa del Carmen in June 2013. He will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life after his prison sentence is finished. Williams will also be supervised for 10 years.
In court on Monday, Williams stated he took full responsibility of his actions and apologized to his victims and their families before he was remanded to the custody of U.S. Marshals.
Williams was a well-respected professor who taught anthropology, gender and sexuality studies, and history at USC for roughly 20 years before his 2011 resignation.
Claiming his travel was for academic studies, Williams flew to the Philippines and other countries in Southeast Asia to have sex with underage boys. The FBI has connected 10 victims between the ages of 9 and 17.
In 2010, before his travel, Williams instigated webcam sex meetings with two boys in the Philippines, aged 13 and 14 and expressed his wish to visit them. When he flew overseas next year, he participated in sex acts with both boys, as well as a 15-year-old boy, and took sexually graphic photos of one of the boys.
When Williams arrived in Los Angeles International Airport on February 11, 2011, authorities stopped him and found child pornography in his possession.
According to Los Angeles Assistant police Chief Michel Moore, the case against Williams began roughly three years ago, when a Los Angeles resident contacted authorities, claiming he was worried about the safety of area children.
In June 2013, a lawyer for the USC offered the FBI materials Williams had donated to the school’s gay and lesbian archives, which reportedly contained “lascivious visual depictions of minors.” The FBI found similar images in Williams’ home.
In September, Williams pled guilty in U.S. District Court to one federal count of engaging in illicit sexual contact in foreign places.