PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A 20-year-old Tiverton man is facing charges in federal court in Providence on allegations that he allegedly enticed and transported a 13-year-old from Pennsylvania to Tiverton with the intent to engage in sexual activity.
William Stewart was arrested by Tiverton Police on July 5, 2021, one day after allegedly arriving with the minor at the home of his grandparents. It is alleged that Stewart picked up the minor late in the evening of June 30 at or near the victim’s grandparents’ home in Pennsylvania. The minor was reported missing on the morning of July 1. It is alleged that Stewart engaged in sexual contact with the minor on multiple occasions while en route to Rhode Island, and while at his grandparent’s home.
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, announced Acting United States Attorney Richard B. Myrus.
According to a criminal complaint filed with the court, it is alleged that 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 minor told Stewart that she was 13 years old.
According to court documents, while the two were en route to Rhode Island, Stewart allegedly made stops in Philadelphia and Camden, NJ, prior to arriving at a motel in New London, CT. Stewart and the minor stayed at a motel in New London for three days, in the room of an acquaintance of Stewart. While there, it is alleged that Stewart had sexual contact with the minor multiple times. Stewart purchased a wig to disguise the minor. The two then drove to Rhode Island, arriving at the home of Stewart’s grandparents on July 4.
According to the criminal complaint, on July 5, the minor contacted a friend via Snapchat and asked for help. The minor allegedly tried to leave Stewart on at least two occasions, but Stewart threatened harm with a knife.
Based on information provided by Pennsylvania law enforcement, Tiverton Police went to the home of Stewart’s grandparents where they located the missing minor and Stewart in the basement of the residence. As part of their investigation, Tiverton Police conducted a court-authorized search of the residence and seized multiple items including a black knife, a wig, and bedding. Stewart is currently detained at the Adult Correctional Institutions on state charges brought in this matter.
A federal criminal complaint is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney G. Michael Seaman, with the assistance of Assistant U.S. Attorney John P. McAdams.
The investigation is being conducted by the Tiverton Police Department, the FBI, and Homeland Security Investigations.