Local News

New Charges Filed, Bond for Accused Child Predator Raised to $6 Million

Posted October 5, 2000

— New charges have been filed against an accused child predator in Cumberland County. Investigators say the abuse may stretch back seven years and include more than 10 victims.

William James Strickland, 45, now faces first-degree statutory sex offense, crimes against nature, felony child abuse, and taking indecent liberties with a child.

He was first jailed last weekend on four counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.

The charges could involve at least five children, some as young as 5 years old.

His bond has been raised from $4 million to $6 million. Those amounts are believed to be one of the highest bonds ever set in a criminal case in Cumberland County.

Investigators say the alleged abuse took place at Strickland's home in the Crystal Park Mobile Home Park, just south of Fayetteville.

"I have come over here and I have seen little four- or five-year-old girls just walking up, going in the house," says Michelle Coleman, who has lived across the street from Strickland, on and off, for 20 years.

"I should have said something, but, I didn't want to stick my nose into something that I didn't know anything about," she says.

Detectives went through a storage unit and found dozens of photos of the suspect having sex with children. Investigators say Strickland has admitted to being on some of the pictures with the alleged victims.

"It's just unbelievable this type of thing can happen in this county, or any other county, without someone reporting it," says Cumberland County Sheriff Moose Butler.

Butler believes Strickland may have more than 10 victims, including children in some neighboring counties. He says it will take a special task force several weeks to go through the videotapes, explicit photos and sex devices found in the suspect's home.

"This is going to be a long, drawn out process, but we are going to work it, and hopefully we can bring this to a conclusion with this man receiving what he deserves," says Butler.

The sheriff's office says Strickland had past charges in a neighboring county that were dropped because he pleaded guilty to a lower charge -- keeping him off a sex offender database.

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