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Strongsville priest pleads not guilty to new child pornography charges during arraignment

Posted at 2:18 PM, Jan 22, 2020

CLEVELAND — A Strongsville priest accused of possessing child pornography appeared in Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas for his arraignment on Wednesday after a grand jury handed down a 21-count indictment last week.

Reverend Robert McWilliams, 39, is charged with 19 counts of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor, one count of illegal use of minor in nudity-oriented material or performance and one count of possessing criminal tools, according to court documents.

During his arraignment, McWilliams pleaded not guilty to the original indictment. His original $50,000 cash/surety/property bond was continued. As part of the conditions of his bond, he was ordered to give a DNA specimen.

McWilliams was arrested on Dec. 5 at St. Joseph Catholic Church for allegedly possessing child porn.

According to the criminal complaint, McWilliams was in possession of child pornography three separate times—the first instance in 2016, again in 2018, and then again in 2019.

Court records state on May 17, 2018, McWilliams posed as a female minor in order to receive nude images of teenage boys. McWilliams received a nude image of the boy’s genitals through electronic communication, according to the court.

McWilliams was previously arraigned on Dec. 9 in the Cuyahoga County. He was appointed a public defender and was given a $50,000 bond. According to court records, he posted bail on Jan. 2.

His pretrial is set for Jan. 21 at 9:30 a.m.

RELATED: New charges: Strongsville Catholic priest charged 21-count child pornography indictment