By Tresa Baldas
A former Child Protective Services employee from Birmingham is due in federal court this afternoon on child pornography charges, accused of ordering hundreds of child erotica films from an overseas movie maker, including one that featured young naked boys having food fights.
According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court, William Shaffer, 71, spent nearly $7,000 over five years on roughly 222 videos he ordered from an international movie-making company's website. An investigation into the movie production firm led authorities to Shaffer, who in 1987 was accused of sexually molesting a boy between the ages of 8 and 9 when he was a Child Protective Services employee, the complaint said.
Investigators found a 1987 Westland police report containing that allegation when they searched Shaffer's home last November. Authorities contacted the alleged victim in March, who said he was molested by Shaffer but did not want to be interviewed, the complaint said.
According to an affidavit filed Monday by a U.S. Postal Inspector, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and an unnamed foreign law enforcement agency started investigating a movie production company in 2010 that ran a website offering films of young boys marketed as "naturist films from around the world." The company, identified only as "International Company," was the subject of more than 20 complaints to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's Cyber TipLine regarding child pornography, the complaint said.
In October 2010, investigators accessed the company’s website and reviewed film previews, movie summaries and customer ordering information. Over the next six months, investigators purchased various videos, including one titled "Cutting Room Floor — Vlaviu," with young boys having naked food fights in an apartment living room.
The company, which had a shipping facility in North Tonawanda, NY, mailed the undercover officers' movies to a post office box in Nolensville, Tenn. They were sent priority mail.
Foreign authorities also executed a search warrant on the company’s business premises and seized hundreds of DVD movies, photos, customer shipping labels and customer order histories, court documents state.
Among the customers was Shaffer, the complaint said. He had the movies mailed to his Birmingham home.
Last November, authorities executed a search warrant at Shaffer's home. After being read his rights, he admitted to ordering videos that contained images of naked boys, but said the company that made them stated the films were not illegal, the complaint said.
Shaffer said he ordered them online, but couldn't remember the website's address, the complaint said. He also told agents no images of child pornography would be found on his computer.
Investigators asked Shaffer where they could find the DVDs containing child pornography, and he asked for a lawyer, the complaint said.
Investigators found dozens of child porn videos under a kitchen table in Shaffer's home, including 61 from the international company, the complaint said. Investigators also found printed child pornography images and sexual stories about children, including one about a seventh grade boy being molested and sodomized.
It is not clear whether the story was created by Shaffer, the complaint said. It is not yet known if Shaffer has a private lawyer or a court-appointed one.