June 18, 2013
A former USC professor who was named this week as one of the FBI‘s most-wanted fugitives after being indicted for alleged sex crimes against children overseas has been captured in Mexico, the bureau said Tuesday night.
Walter Lee Williams, 64, was arrested Tuesday evening by Mexican authorities, Bill Lewis, FBI assistant director in charge, said in a statement. Williams was on the bureau’s 10-most-wanted list.
Williams is charged with the sexual exploitation of children, traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places, the FBI said.
The FBI was planning to release additional details at a news conference Wednesday, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
Williams was captured in Playa del Carmen along the Caribbean in the state of Quintana Roo, according to media reports in Mexico.
At least 10 alleged victims between the ages of 9 and 17 were identified by authorities, according to the FBI. Many live in third world countries. Williams has traveled extensively or lived across Southeast Asia and Polynesia.
“Because of his status, he has the means and access to children, and that’s what makes him dangerous,” FBI Special Agent Jeff Yesensky said in a video released by the agency. “He preys on the most vulnerable children.”
A four-count federal indictment filed April 30 alleges crimes involving two 14-year-old boys that Williams met online in 2010. He allegedly “engaged in sexual activity via Internet webcam sessions with the boys and expressed a desire to visit them in the Philippines to have sex,” the FBI said in a statement.
Williams went to the Philippines in January 2011, where he is suspected of committing “sexually explicit conduct” with the boys, took photos of the encounters and brought the photos back to Los Angeles County, the indictment said.
Williams fled Los Angeles after he was questioned by FBI agents, according to Eimiller.
Williams taught anthropology, gender studies and history at USC, according to a university Web page that has since been taken down.
He is an author and Fulbright award winner who received the USC General Education Outstanding Teacher Award in 2006. He was also recognized for his work with the gay and lesbian community.