Tiverton man faces federal charges in molestation case

William Stewart, 19, drove from Pennsylvania with alleged victim, police say

By Ted Hayes
Posted 7/28/21

A 20-year-old Tiverton man is facing federal charges on allegations that he enticed and transported a 13-year-old girl from Pennsylvania to Tiverton with the intent to engage in sexual …

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Tiverton man faces federal charges in molestation case

William Stewart, 19, drove from Pennsylvania with alleged victim, police say

Posted

A 20-year-old Tiverton man is facing federal charges on allegations that he enticed and transported a 13-year-old girl from Pennsylvania to Tiverton with the intent to engage in sexual activity.

William Stewart, 19, of 44 High Hill Road, was arrested by Tiverton police on Monday, July 5, 2021, one day after allegedly arriving with the girl at the home of his grandparents in Tiverton. Prosecutors allege that Mr. Stewart picked up the minor late in the evening of June 30 at or near her grandparents’ home in Pennsylvania; she had been reported missing four days earlier. Authorities believe that Stewart engaged in sexual contact with the minor on multiple occasions while en route to Rhode Island, and while at his grandparents' home.

Mr. Stewart is charged by way of a federal criminal complaint with transportation of a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, interstate travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, and coercion and enticement of a minor to engage in illicit sexual activity, said Acting United States Attorney Richard B. Myrus.

According to a criminal complaint filed with the court, authorities believe that Mr. Stewart, who was living with his father in Pennsylvania, and the 13-year-old, who was living with grandparents in Pennsylvania, exchanged communications via Snapchat prior to meeting in person on June 30. In Snapchat communications obtained by court order as part of a Pennsylvania State Police missing juvenile investigation, while the two talked about traveling to Rhode Island together, the girl told Stewart that she was 13 years old.

According to court documents, while the two were en route to Rhode Island, Mr. Stewart allegedly made stops in Philadelphia and Camden, NJ, prior to arriving at a motel in New London, CT. He and the girl stayed at a motel in New London for three days, in the room of an acquaintance of Mr. Stewart. While there, it is alleged that he and the girl had sexual contact multiple times. Police believe he purchased a wig to disguise the girl, and the two then drove to Rhode Island, arriving in Tiverton on Sunday, July 4.

On July 5, the girl contacted a friend via Snapchat and asked for help. She had allegedly tried to leave Mr. Stewart on at least two occasions, but he allegedly threatened harm with a knife.

Based on information provided by Pennsylvania law enforcement, Tiverton police went to the home of Mr. Stewart’s grandparents, where they located the missing girl and Mr. Stewart. Officers conducted a court-authorized search of the residence and seized multiple items including a black knife, wig, and bedding. Mr. Stewart is currently detained at the Adult Correctional Institutions on state charges.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney G. Michael Seaman, with the assistance of Assistant U.S. Attorney John P. McAdams, and the investigation is being conducted by the Tiverton Police Department, the FBI, and Homeland Security.

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