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Gastonia man sentenced to 35-years for secretly recording minors on his yacht

WIlliam Hillard was sentenced to 35-years in prison for secretly recording nude videos of underage females aboard his yacht.
WIlliam Hillard was sentenced to 35-years in prison for secretly recording nude videos of underage females aboard his yacht.(WITN)
Published: Jun. 28, 2020 at 10:29 PM EDT
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ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WITN) -

A Gastonia man has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for secretly recording nude videos of underage females aboard his yacht.

According to the U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray, William Hilliard Jr., 51, formerly of Cleveland County and Cherryville, will also serve a lifetime of supervised release and register as a sex offender upon his release from prison.

We want to warn readers that some of the details may be graphic.

Hilliard was arrested on June 11, 2018 by local law enforcement in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He owned a yacht called "Yachts O' Trouble," and was found secretly recording videos of both minor and adult guests.

The FBI lead a multi-state and multi-agency investigation.

According to court documents, Hilliard admitted that over the course of eight to 10 years, he secretly recorded at least 16 child victims at various locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Alabama, including aboard his yacht, in his home, at various hotel rooms, and other locations.

Hillard also had secret recordings of victims he had hired as babysitters for his young children, and used multiple hidden devices to record his victims while showering and changing clothes.

Some of the victims were as young as five years old.

Court records also show that Hilliard secretly recorded himself engaging in sexual acts with one minor.

On April 22, 2019, Hilliard plead guilty to sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of child pornography.

Hilliard is in custody and will be transferred to the federal Bureau of Prisons once he his assigned to a federal facility.

He was also ordered to pay $88,476 in restitution to five victims.

Copyright 2020 WITN. All rights reserved.

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