Thursday, November 05, 2009

Former Joplin Globe reporter Colby Williams accused of sex with 14-year-old


A felony sex charge involving an underage girl has been filed against a reporter whose byline graced the Joplin Globe's newspaper through early August.

Documents filed in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri indicate Colby Williams, 24, Joplin, has been charged with coercion or enticement of a minor female. He was released on a personal recognizance bond and is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 24 in Springfield.

On his online resume, Williams, a senior at Missouri Southern State University, calls himself a "freelance writer," who has worked for the Joplin Globe from May 2008 to the present. The resume also notes that Williams received the Good Citizen Award from the Daughters of the American Revolution in Salem, Ill., in 2004.

Williams' crime allegedly took place in 2007 in Cyprus, according to an affidavit written by Timothy F. Quinn, special agent for immigration and customs enforcement:
:

An investigation was initiated by the ICE Office of Investigations in St Louis, Missouri, in July, 2007, based upon a complaint filed with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The complaint alleged that while he was in Cyprus traveling with a missionary group, Colby L. Williams engaged in sexual acts with a fourteen year-old female. The missionary group, Team Expansion of Louisville, Kentucky, immediately arranged for Williams to return to the United States. The Security
Director of the organization, Jim Richter, traveled to Cyprus and took possession of certain personal items that had belonged to Williams, including a laptop computer and digital camera. Richter turned these items over to ICE agents at Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport on May 23, 2007.

An investigation was initiated by the ICE Office of Investigations in St Louis, Missouri, in July, 2007, based upon a complaint filed with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The complaint alleged that while he was in Cyprus traveling with a missionary group, Colby L. Williams engaged in sexual acts with a fourteen year-old female. The missionary group, Team Expansion of Louisville, Kentucky, immediately arranged for Williams to return to the United States. The Security
Director of the organization, Jim Richter, traveled to Cyprus and took possession of certain personal items that had belonged to Williams, including a laptop computer and digital camera. Richter turned these items over to ICE agents at Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport on May 23, 2007.

Richter supplied your Affiant with a written account of an internal interview conducted between himself, Colby Williams, and Glen Gibson, Vice President and Training Director for Team Expansion International Services. Williams admitted to Richter and Gibson that he had sexual contact with the then-fourteen year old victim, referred to herein as “Victim 1”. Williams also stated that he was aware of Victim 1’s age prior to any sexual contact that had taken place in Cyprus.

Colby Williams was interviewed by your Affiant and a Joplin, Missouri, Police Dept. Detective at his residence on July 28, 2008. During the course of that interview, Williams again admitted that while in Cyprus in 2007, he engaged in sexual acts with
Victim 1, (description was provided at this point of the sex acts). Williams stated that he knew her age to be fourteen when they met in Cyprus. Also at that time Williams signed a Consent to Search Computer/Electronic Equipment form for his Apple laptop computer, and other electronic items which had been turned over to ICE agents by Jim Richter. A subsequent forensic examination of that laptop computer revealed explicit sexual text conversation between Williams and Victim 1.

On October 1, 2008, Victim 1 was interviewed at a Child Advocacy Center in Tyler, Texas, about the events that had transpired in Cyprus in 2007. Victim 1 detailed in the videotaped interview how various sexual encounters with Colby Williams had
unfolded.

In August, 2009, your affiant spoke via telephone with Williams, and was told by Williams that he has been in the process of moving from his parents’ home in Sikeston, MO, back to Joplin to begin an internship with the Joplin Globe newspaper. The usual investigative means to locate an individual revealed only previous addresses for Williams. Internet research conducted on Williams in September, 2009, showed him to be listed on several web sites related to journalism and the Joplin Globe, and he was also listed on websites related to a group known as Mwangaza International, which is dedicated to helping refugees in war-torn areas of Africa.


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(Randy Turner's new book, Newspaper Days, is available at Amazon.com.)

5 comments:

Scott said...

Randy -- While I realize it's more fun for you to use the term "Joplin Globe reporter" in a case like this, it is worth noting that Colby was a summer intern through a scholarship set up through the communications department at Missouri Southern.

Kathee Baird said...

An intern is still employed by the company he/she represents, in this case...THE JOPLIN GLOBE!!


Keep doin' what you do, Randy. We appreciate it!

Randy said...

The story is accurate and comes directly from court records. The information about the Globe comes both from Globe archives and from Williams' online resume. Perhaps if the Globe wants staff writers to be differentiated from interns, it should treat their bylines differently. I note that Colby Williams' byline reads By Colby Williams, then gives an e-mail address where he can be reached at the Globe, thus treating him exactly the same as veteran reporters like Derek Spellman and Susan Redden. The only difference is that their e-mail addresses include their names while the address listed with Williams was news@joplinglobe.com.

Thank you, Kathee, for the kind words.

Anonymous said...

The Joplin Globe publishrd this story in the middle of the night, that says it all about the Globe.

jeff youngblood said...

Well, he is not, and never was a reporter. And the Globe did publish this story in last Thursday's edition.

But I don't see them in any way trying to be covert about the link (refreshing for the media), and that might in part be due to the fact that he WAS an intern.

Not too crazy about that paper. They seem pretty aloof, generally, to what is going on in Joplin. Trying to get them to come do a story on anything going on around the town is like pulling teeth. one of their photogs was supposed to meet an artist friend of mine today to do pictures. They never showed, which happens all the time.

In a related story, at the launch party of Mwangaza, Colby could not even get them to show up, and he was on staff. It was an even that raised 1200 dollars, and was very elegantly done as a formal affair, where over 150 people showed up. Live art auction, food, etc. It was a great downtown event. The slated reporter that week chose instead to do a story on a frat house in Pittsburg. yawn.

Anyways, It is a legitimate charity, that should not be tainted with this latest scandal.

My heart goes out to the family of that girl. And as a follower of Christ, I am in sorrow for the condition of Colby. I pray he makes his peace with God.