Awaiting trial, Florence man indicted on new child pornography charges

Florence, Ala. – A retired Florence business owner accused of possessing obscene material of a person under the age of 17 is back behind bars charged with dozens of counts of producing child pornography. William “Pete” Wesson was taken into custody Thursday afternoon on new grand jury indictments.

William "Pete" Wesson

First arrested in November of 2016, 65-year-old Pete Wesson recently had more than 100 new indictments handed down against him for possessing child pornography and producing pornographic material with minors. Wesson made an initial appearance on the new charges in Lauderdale County Circuit Court Thursday afternoon.

Florence police launched an investigation into Wesson in April of 2016 after being contacted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. After consulting with federal agents, Florence police executed a search warrant at Wesson’s home. A large number of electronic media storage devices were seized.

According to investigators, the original indictment concentrated on 55 videos depicting children under the age of 17 involved in sexual activity.

A recent grand jury found probable cause to issue new arrest warrants against Wesson, bringing the total number of indictments to 155. The latest evidence gathered was done so on Wesson’s request as they got ready for trial on the previous charges. Prosecutors said Wesson would download the pornography involving children and copy them to hard drives. Only one of the charges involve Wesson sharing a pornographic video.

Florence police say the evidence in this case does not indicate any of the children are from this area.

Before the new indictments were issued, Wesson had been free from jail on a bail totaling $275,000. His new bond is set at $5-million and must be paid in cash. He is being held at the Lauderdale County Detention Center.

Prosecutors in the case said the new indictments will be grouped with his previous charges for the purpose of trial. No word yet on when a trial date will be set.