North Carolina

Owner of boat ‘Yachts O’ Trouble’ pleads guilty to recording girls showering on board

William Richard Hilliard Jr. of Cherryville has been arrested in Myrtle Beach on a charge of sexual voyeurism.
William Richard Hilliard Jr. of Cherryville has been arrested in Myrtle Beach on a charge of sexual voyeurism. MYRTLE BEACH JAIL

A North Carolina man pleaded guilty Monday to secretly filming both underage girls and adult women as they showered and changed clothes aboard his private yacht, named “Yachts O’ Trouble,” according to a press release from U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray.

William Richard Hilliard, Jr., 49, of Cherryville, admitted to making the secret recordings Monday in the state’s Western District court, the release said.

Some of his victims were as young as 5, according to the Department of Justice.

“Hilliard had secretly produced multiple secret recordings of at least 16 child victims at various locations in North and South Carolina, including aboard his yacht, in his homes, in various hotel rooms, and elsewhere,” the press release said.

“Court records also show that, at times, Hilliard produced secret recordings of victims he had hired as babysitters for his young children, and used multiple hidden devices to record his victims from different angles while they were using the shower and changing clothes.”

He was first arrested June 11 in Myrtle Beach on charges of video voyeurism, the release said. “As a result of the events surrounding his arrest, the FBI coordinated an extensive multi-state and multi-agency investigation,” officials said.

It was during that investigation that the FBI found more victims, and secret recordings dating back eight to 10 years, officials said.

The Charlotte Observer reported in June that Hilliard was arrested following a discovery by one of his victims that an iPad had been recording her as she showered on his yacht in Myrtle Beach.

The girl told her mother, who was a chaperone aboard the boat, and her mother took the iPad to police and filed a complaint, WSOC reported.

Hilliard will serve 15 to 30 years in prison and pay a $250,000 fine for production of child pornography, the press release said. He also pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography, which carries a 20-year maximum sentence and a $250,000 fine, according to the release.

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