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Cameron teacher charged with possessing child pornography

Derek Williams, a broadcasting teacher, was put on administrative leave earlier this month at Cameron High School following an investigation by the Clinton County Sheriff's Office.

Posted: Sep 26, 2018 4:08 PM
Updated: Sep 26, 2018 6:25 PM

(CAMERON, Mo.) A Cameron High School teacher has been charged with possession of child pornography and sexual exploitation of a minor.

Clinton County prosecutors charged Derek Williams with three felony counts of possession of child pornography, three felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one felony count of second degree statutory sodomy.

Williams, a broadcasting teacher, was put on administrative leave earlier this month at Cameron High School following an investigation by the Clinton County Sheriff's Office.

According to court documents, Williams not only possessed child pornography but also created child pornography videos by secretly recording two victims under the age of 18 sometime between August 1, 2016 and June 1, 2017 and August 1, 2018 and September 6, 2018. The court document also accuses Williams of having sexual intercourse with a third victim under the age of 17 between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015.

Earlier this month, investigators searched Williams' home in Cameron where 77 videos and images of the victims were allegedly discovered. Several electronic devices were also seized.

Williams was also involved with Camp Quality Northwest Missouri and FosterAdopt Connect.

Officials with Camp Quality said Williams last volunteered with the organization in June 2017.

"We are shocked and extremely disheartened to learn of these charges," said Camp Quality CEO Patty Harris. "Mr. Williams last volunteered with our organization for a week in June 2017."

"Every volunteer is interviewed, reference-checked, and background-checked. We hold our employees and all of our volunteers to a strict code of conduct and require annual training regarding appropriate interactions with children. There has never been a complaint filed, formal or otherwise, regarding how this volunteer has conducted himself in his role as a Camp Quality volunteer."

"We take the safety and welfare of children very seriously, and our hearts go out to anyone who may have been impacted."

Founder and CEO of FosterAdopt Connect Loretta Ross also released a statement and said the organization has had no connection with Williams for the past year. 

"Derek Williams and his wife were Missouri Foster Adoptive parents. We became acquainted with him when he became a member of the Missouri State Foster Care and Adoption Board. Derek volunteered with FosterAdopt Connect for about a year and a half— assisting with bringing resources to foster and adoptive families in Cameron, Missouri and surrounding counties," Ross said. "He has had no connection to our organization for the past year. We are unaware of any inappropriate issues or opportunities for such issues during his relationship with our organization. People who serve as Foster and Adoptive Parents must pass FBI background checks, as well as several other checks to ensure to the highest extent possible that no previous history of illegal or dangerous behaviors exist. FosterAdopt Connect also background checks all volunteers who work in proximity to children."

"Unfortunately, there prevention efforts are not 100% effective, especially if no previous known history exist. Like the rest of our close community, FosterAdobt Connect is shocked and saddened to learn of these allegations. We advocate tirelessly for the safety and well-being of Missouri's most vulnerable children and we will continue to do so. Our hearts go out to anyone directly impacted by this situation."

On Wednesday afternoon, the Cameron R-1 School District also released a statement. 

“The Cameron R-1 School District was notified today of serious charges filed against W. Derek Williams," Superintendent Matt Robinson said. "At the time the District first became aware of this matter, an immediate and thorough investigation was done, and the District has determined that there is no evidence that any alleged acts were perpetrated on District property."

"We want to assure our staff and students that we responded to the allegations appropriately and we have fully cooperated with law enforcement’s efforts in this matter. We will continue to do so as this matter proceeds. Since the time we became aware of allegations, Mr. Williams has not been on District property and will not be permitted to return. Although we are limited in what we can say about individual personnel matters, above all else, we want to assure you that the safety and well-being of District students is our primary concern. Should your student require support of any kind, the District’s counseling staff is always available. Likewise, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Matt Robinson should you or your student have any questions or concerns.”

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