Bucks officials: Serial child rapist's 'horrific' crimes go back 40 years
For as long as 40 years, officials said, handyman William Charles Thomas stalked and groomed his child victims, raped them, collected articles of clothing as trophies, and sometimes wrote graphic details on pieces of plywood that he used in renovating trailer homes.
In the fall, a trailer-home owner discovered one of the inscribed plywood pieces -- what Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub called a "perverse shrine" to "criminal behavior" -- and that ultimately led to the arrest of Thomas, 58, of Morrisville.
Thomas was charged with five counts of rape involving children under the age of 13, five counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, and three counts of aggravated indecent assault of a child, Weintraub said a news conference Monday.
He also is charged with the possession and manufacturing of child pornography, although investigators do not yet know if he distributed the images.
Thomas is a "real-life boogeyman," Weintraub said. "This is a parent's worst nightmare."
The investigation began in November, when Falls Township police received a report of sexually explicit writings found on a piece of plywood at Midway Village Trailer Park, at a home that was under renovation by Thomas, according to court documents. Thomas is a resident of the trailer park.
The documents gave the following account:
The owner found plywood with "handwritten graphic details about someone sexually assaulting two very young girls," identified as the daughters of people who formerly lived at Midway Village.
A search of Thomas' trailer found at least 1,000 images of naked children, child pornography, adult porn with images of children superimposed on it, hundreds of pairs of girls' underwear, and vulgar and graphic drawings and writings.
Some of the writings documented Thomas' molesting children as young as 3 since he was in his 20s, back in the 1970s.
He allegedly "wrote that he was aware some of the children were either asleep or so young that they wouldn't be able to disclose the abuse."
In an interview with investigators last week, Thomas admitted to a decades-long sexual attraction to children and recounted sexual acts involving children, including a relative and children he had baby-sat, according to the court documents.
Thomas is described as an itinerant worker who ran a remodeling business in Falls Township under the name of Thomas Construction. He is a lifelong Bucks County resident and Pennsbury High School graduate.
It took investigators four days to process the evidence, which was removed by the truckload.
The victims were both male and female and ranged in age from 2 to 10, officials said.
Lt. Henry Ward of Falls Township police described the victims as "broken."
"The human race hasn't come up with words of what we saw in the trailer," said Ward. He called the scene "horrific."
Thomas recorded everything he did, said officials.
Investigators confiscated a computer and VHS tapes but have not yet looked at them.
Jay Sofronsky, a neighbor, first found out about the charges against Thomas on Friday, when police arrived to raid the trailer where the handyman lived. Police carted away more than 100 boxes, he said.
Thomas was a pretty good handyman and mostly kept to himself, but would ask neighbors for food handouts, according to residents.
Thomas did some repairs for Jessica Chobert, 29.
"When he was in my trailer, he was just fine," she said, adding she didn't know of any children now living in the trailer park.
"We all tried to help him," Sofronsky said. "All this time, we were looking in the eyes of a thing. They haven't made a word for that [expletive]."
Officials ask that victims or anyone with information about Thomas contact Falls Township Sgt. Christopher Clark at 215-302-3315 or email email@example.com, or contact Bucks County Detective Lt. Robert Gorman at 215-340-8141 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.