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A man has admitted inducing three children into engaging in sexually explicit conduct within a five-year period so he could produce pornographic images of them.

Chance Garrett Williams, 27, of Rapid City pleaded guilty Friday to two federal charges of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor. The offenses occurred between January 2012 and January 2017, and involved three girls, according to court documents.

Each charge carries a penalty of 15 to 30 years in prison, as well as supervised release of five years to life. At his yet-to-be-scheduled sentencing, Williams wouldn't ask for less than 30 years in prison, according to his plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

A statement of facts in the case, which accompanied Williams’ plea agreement, says the police investigation started in late 2016 after one of the victims told her counselor that Williams had raped her. She would have turned 5 years old in 2012.

“I’m sorry, I have to go kill myself. I don’t want to lose my family,” Williams was quoted as saying when initially told of the allegation in September 2016.

The victim consequently revealed that the assault happened more than once, Williams had photographed her naked and showed her a sexually explicit video, according to the written statement. 

A police search of Williams’ cellphone reportedly uncovered about 50 child porn images that he had produced. Many of them were photos of the girl, taken when she was between 4 and 6 years old. The images also included those of two other girls who would have turned 10 and 4 in 2012.

Investigators said he had also distributed pornographic images of one of the girls to other people.

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At the Rapid City federal courthouse Friday morning, Williams’ voice broke when he answered “guilty” to his two criminal charges. He then swiped at his eyes while the victims’ representatives sat behind him in the gallery.

Williams, detained at the Pennington County Jail since January 2017, was initially charged in state court with multiple counts of first-degree rape, sexual contact with a child, as well as child porn offenses.

Pennington County prosecutors dismissed his state charges, and his case was moved to federal court because of the federal system’s higher minimum penalties, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has said.

Contact Tiffany Tan at tiffany.tan@rapidcityjournal.com.

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Cops and Courts Reporter

Cops and courts reporter for the Rapid City Journal