MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) — A search in Madison Wednesday led to the arrest of a man connected to a child pornography and trafficking website, according to an FBI agent’s affidavit filed in federal court in Alabama.
The document says William Michael Spearman, 56, received a criminal complaint for engaging in a child exploitation enterprise and conspiracy to advertise child pornography. The affidavit cites violations related to “illegal trafficking, production, transmission, possession, and receipt of material depicting the sexual exploitation of minors.”
Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Madison Police officers responded to the scene on Rolling Lea Place in Madison on Wednesday. The affidavit said a search warrant was executed at Spearman’s home in Madison.
On Wednesday, an FBI spokesperson told News 19 agents were engaged in “court-authorized law enforcement action.”
The affidavit said the arrest came after the FBI began an investigation into an unnamed website that “allows users to engage in online communications with online users.”
Upon his arrest, agents say Spearman admitted he had been active on the website since 2018, shared child pornography on the site, and took steps to manage the site, according to court records. There was also child pornography on devices in his home, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit says the site involved trafficking child pornography images and videos through web links that Spearman allegedly facilitated. The affidavit also says the website was reported to have at least 100 members.
The FBI document claims Spearman “recommended other users for promotion, welcomed users to the website, provided guidance to users, and recruited other users to serve in positions on the [website].”
The FBI says its investigation led to the discovery that Spearman, more than three times, shared “thousands of URL links to child pornography via the [website]” that were available to more than 10 other users.
Court documents say Spearman appeared in court Thursday morning. He is set to appear for a preliminary hearing on November 10 in Huntsville.