MADISON, WIS. – Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that William Heitman, 35, Verona, Wisconsin, pleaded guilty today and was sentenced by U.S. District Judge William M. Conley to 12 years in federal prison for possessing child pornography. This sentence will be followed by 15 years of supervised release. Judge Conley also ordered the defendant to pay $9,000 in restitution to three of the victims depicted in the images Heitman possessed.
In June 2020, Verona police officers found Heitman in a park sleeping in his car. Heitman told officers that he was recently released from state prison after serving a sentence for possessing child pornography. Officers learned that Heitman was on extended supervision for that offense. During a search of Heitman’s car, officers found two SD cards containing well over 1,000 videos of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Heitman admitted to downloading the images and admitted to being an administrator for two groups engaged in trading images of child pornography. In his role as administrator, Heitman solicited images of child pornography from individuals who wanted to join the groups.
In sentencing Heitman, Judge Conley was concerned about Heitman’s failure to engage in treatment while in state prison the first time, and that he seemed to have no understanding of the seriousness of the offense. Judge Conley observed that this made Heitman a dangerous person in need of a lengthy prison term. Heitman’s role as an administrator of groups trading child pornography also made him an active part of the plague of child pornography on the internet.
Heitman’s state supervision was revoked in July 2020, in part as a result of the conduct included in the federal offense. Accordingly, Judge Conley imposed the federal sentence to run concurrently with the remainder of the defendant’s four-year state sentence.
The charge against Heitman was the result of an investigation conducted by the Verona Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julie Pfluger and Laura Przybylinski Finn prosecuted this case.