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Former USC professor lands on FBI's most wanted list

City News Service | 6/17/2013, 5:11 p.m.
Walter Lee Williams, a former USC professor, is wanted for the alleged sexual exploitation of children and traveling abroad for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual acts with children.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — A former USC professor of sexuality wanted for allegedly engaging in sex with minors overseas and producing child pornography became the 500th person added to the FBI’s list of its Ten Most Wanted fugitives, federal officials said today.

Walter Lee Williams, 64, was charged in an indictment filed in Los Angeles federal court, alleging one count of producing child pornography, one count of traveling for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and two counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places.

Williams, formerly of Palm Springs, was a professor of gender and sexuality studies at USC until 2011, an FBI spokeswoman said.

Under the guise of academic research, Williams traveled in the Philippines and elsewhere in Southeast Asia to have sex with underage boys, according to the FBI. The bureau said it has identified 10 victims between ages 9 and 17.

“He preys on the most vulnerable children,” according to FBI Special Agent Jeff Yesensky, who said he analyzed laptop computers and a camera belonging to Williams and found child pornography.

“Because of his status, he has the means and access to children, and that’s what makes him dangerous,” Yesensky said.

The indictment alleges Williams traveled from Los Angeles to the Philippines in January 2011 to engage in sex acts with two 14-year-old boys he met online in 2010.

Prior to his travel, Williams allegedly engaged in sexual activity via Internet webcam sessions with these boys and expressed a desire to visit them in the Philippines to have sex. While in the Philippines, he allegedly engaged in sex acts with both boys and produced sexually explicit photos of one of the boys.

Williams fled Los Angeles about a week after returning from the Philippines.

Williams was affiliated with the Buddhist Universal Association in Los Angeles. He has traveled extensively in Southeast Asia and the Philippines, according the FBI.

He has lived in Indonesia, Polynesia, and Thailand, where he is alleged to have owned property. He may also travel to Mexico and Peru.

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading directly to his arrest and conviction.