William Henry Thomas, 69, of Punta Gorda, was sentenced to 15 years in prison followed by 15
years of sex offender probation for crimes involving child pornography. Thomas was adjudicated
guilty of one count of Transmission of Child Pornography and 2 counts of Possession of Child
Pornography with the enhancement for having more than 10 images. The enhancement to the
charge makes them 2nd degree felonies. He was also adjudicated guilty of 7 counts of Possession
of Child Pornography and 1 count of Failure to Comply with Registration Requirements.
Thomas decided to plea open to the court in Charlotte County, on October 14th, the date the case
was set for trial. He was sentenced Friday. All defendants have a right to plea to the court instead
of having a jury trial. This is not a plea agreement.
The case started in 2018, following a tip from an online company who observed a group of
people sharing child pornography on their platform. They tried to shut the group down on their
own but were unsuccessful, so they reported it to the FBI in California where the company is
Two of the computer ip addresses were linked to the defendant in Charlotte County. The
Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, who is a member of the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force
based in Fort Myers, was notified and began investigating. Search warrants were executed on
the defendant’s home and office; laptops and hard drives were seized.
Much of the child pornography had been deleted but was able to be recovered in whole or in part
during the extraction process by law enforcement. The defendant was a registered sexual
offender for a prior Possession of Pornography charge from 2002.
Assistant State Attorney Stephanie Powers and Assistant State Attorney Kyle Stublen handled
State Attorney’s Office