ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WBTW) — A yacht owner was sentenced to 35 years in prison Thursday for secretly recording nude videos of minors on his yacht in Myrtle Beach, according to The United States Attorney’s Office Western District of North Carolina.
William Richard Hilliard, Jr., 51, of Gastonia, North Carolina, was arrested on June 11, 2018 by Myrtle Beach law enforcement on charges of video voyeurism, the attorney’s office said.
Hilliard was discovered secretly recording the videos of “unsuspecting females” aboard his yacht named “Yachts O’ Trouble,” according to the attorney’s office. The victims were both minors and adults.
After investigation, it was discovered that Hilliard produced “multiple secret recordings of at least 16 child victims at various locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Alabama, including aboard his yacht, in his homes, in various hotel rooms, and elsewhere” over an 8 to 10 year period, the attorney’s office said.
According to the attorney’s office, Hilliard recorded videos of victims he hired to babysit his children, and also used hidden cameras from different angles to record the victims in the shower and while they were changing clothes. Some of the victims were as young as five years old.
Court records show Hilliard engaged in sexual acts with one of the minor victims which was also secretly recorded.
Hilliard pleaded guilty in April 2019 on charges of sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of child pornography, the attorney’s office said. Hilliard will be transferred to a federal prison.