Lehigh Valley

Police: Visitor used host's Internet access to share child porn

The man was wanted in Missouri

U. MACUNGIE TWP., Pa. - Authorities allege that a wanted Missouri man visiting friends in the Lehigh Valley used his host’s internet service to share child pornography videos on-line.

Bethlehem police charged Joseph M. Willard with single felony counts of child pornography, criminal use of a communication device and disseminating images of children engaged in sex acts following his arrest late last month in a Lehigh County grocery store.

The 54-year-old was scheduled for a preliminary hearing Monday morning in Lehigh County Central Court, which was rescheduled to March 16.

The Bethlehem Police Department detective that investigated Willard is a member of the Lehigh County Computer Crimes Task Force. He began the investigation on Oct. 31, 2017, to identify anyone sharing child porn using a peer-to-peer file-sharing system through the BitTorrent Network, according to court records.

Authorities said a download request was successfully completed on Oct. 31. In the early-morning hours of Nov. 25, another download of seven files was completed from the same internet provider address that was the source of the Oct. 31 download, according to records.

The investigator identified the service provider and secured a court order for the subscriber information. PennTeleData provided authorities with an address in Upper Macungie Township.

Authorities searched the home on Feb. 22 but didn’t find any evidence of child pornography. The investigation revealed that Willard was a family friend, who was allowed to use the home’s internet when he visited the area for work, according to records.

The family, who knew Willard as Joseph Moyer, said the download dates coincided with date’s Willard was in the Lehigh Valley.

Authorities tracked Willard down at an Aldi grocery store that day, where he was taken into custody on an arrest warrant out of Missouri. Court records do not specify why Willard is wanted in Missouri. He allegedly provided police with a fake name.

Investigators searched his Chevy Express 3500 conversion van parked in the lot and found an Acer laptop and a 64GB USB drive. Authorities allegedly found about 175 video files featuring children as young as 6 engaged in sex acts with men, women and other children.

Willard, of Cold Camp, Missouri, remains in Lehigh County Jail after failing to post $100,000 bail following his Feb. 26 arraignment.


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