Mom accused of sex trafficking teen daughter to wealthy yacht owner


MATHEWS COUNTY, Va. (WTKR/CNN) – A Virginia judge denied bond for a man who prosecutors say tried to perform sex acts on a 15-year-old girl, while her mother helped arrange it.

The lawyers for 53-year-old William “Billy” Hooper, a wealthy yacht owner, said in court Wednesday that their client is being falsely accused. Hooper faces more than half a dozen child pornography-related charges.

“I’ve seen zero evidence that Mr. Hooper committed any crime whatsoever,” said defense attorney Conrad Bareford. “People who are successful, people who are well known and liked become targets, unfortunately, in this day and age.”

Deputies with the Mathews County Sheriff’s Office say between April and June of last year, Hooper was alone on his yacht with a 15-year-old girl he hired to clean the boat.

Hooper is accused of propositioning the teenager to let him take pornographic photos of her on the yacht and perform oral sex in exchange for money.

According to the criminal complaint, the victim told her mother, who is not being identified to protect her daughter’s identity, but Hooper encouraged her to bring the teen to his yacht. Court documents allege the teen’s mom was paid for her role.

Hooper’s lawyers argued for bond because of health concerns after the 53-year-old had a heart attack while in jail that led to a quadruple bypass surgery.

“He’s lost 55 pounds. He was extremely healthy for the years I’ve known him prior to this, and now, he is debilitated,” Bareford said.

The judge denied that request but granted prosecutors more time to put their case together and to get evidence back from the crime lab.

In court, prosecutors said the victim is in counseling, and they have concerns over her ability to testify at this time. They also said they spoke to a third alleged victim just last week.

The case is scheduled to resume on March 30. The judge was adamant that there would be no further continuances.

Meanwhile, the victim’s mother’s case is being turned over to federal authorities while she remains in jail.

Copyright 2020 WTKR, Mathews County Sheriff’s Office via CNN. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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