Mathews County yacht owner sentenced to life in prison in child pornography case


MATHEWS COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — A man from Mathews County was sentenced to life in prison Monday for engaging in a conspiracy to produce child pornography.

10 On Your Side first reported the story of William Wellington “Billy” Hooper, Jr., 54, in November 2019. At the time, Hooper’s arrest was confirmed by authorities after he was accused of asking an underage employee working on his boat to take pornographic photos in exchange for money.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Hooper conspired with 54 -year-old Jennifer Hutchens to produce images of child sexual abuse of a 15-year-old girl, and her 14-year-old friend.

Prosecutors say Hooper and Hutchens coerced the victim to engage in sexually explicit conduct during the months of April and May 2019 in Gloucester County and Mathews County.

According to court documents, Hutchens, at the request of Hooper, also recruited other minor girls to pose for sexually explicit photographs in what Hooper called a “teen modeling” endeavor.

In explaining his request, Hooper said that “[l]egal doesn’t matter” and suggested that Hutchens could get access to younger children by running a daycare, for which she could “[s]pecialize in problem[] girls between the ages of 8 and 12.”

In October 2020, Hutchens was sentenced to 276 months, or 23 years, in prison for her role in the case.

Prosecutors say Hooper promised the children, whose families were struggling financially, that they would be compensated for the pornographic content. He specifically promised that Jane Doe #1 could make almost $3 million if she obeyed him completely.

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