A former Quince Orchard High School wrestling coach was sentenced Thursday to five years of probation on a child pornography charge. He also will serve six days in jail.
Dake Williams, 28, of North Potomac, was accused of downloading more than 1,000 files of child pornography in September.
Williams’ sentence on Thursday was five years of probation before judgment, meaning he must serve out his sentence but a guilty conviction won’t show up in his criminal record. To avoid additional incarceration, he must meet conditions laid out in the sentence that include group therapy and community service.
Maryland State Police arrested Williams on Sept. 9 after authorities got a warrant and searched his home.
Police said they found that Williams, a former volunteer assistant wrestling coach at Quince Orchard High in Gaithersburg, had download the pornography on electronic devices.
Police said they also found the drug ecstasy during their search of Williams’ home.
Williams was charged on Sept. 9 with 10 counts of possession of child pornography and four counts of drug possession.
The search of Williams’ home and his arrest came two years after customs officials at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport found a package containing ecstasy addressed to Williams’ North Potomac home.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of child pornography on Dec. 20, according to state court records.
During Thursday’s hearing, Williams apologized for his actions and told the court that he had been self-medicating to treat depression prior to his arrest.
“Now, with a clear mind, I understand how serious my actions were,” he said.
Williams added that he has been seeing a psychiatrist and going to therapy regularly.
Asked by Montgomery County Circuit Judge James Bonifant how long he had been sober, Williams replied that it started the day he was arrested.
Williams’ father also addressed the court, saying that his son’s judgment was affected by his addiction and his has “no interest in minors.”
“I know what control they [drugs] had over him,” he said.
Defense attorney Howard Cheris also said Williams’ actions were related to his drug use, and not pedophilia. The community, he said, supports the former coach.
“This gentleman volunteered his time and inspired other young men to be well,” Cheris said.
Assistant State’s Attorney Frank Lazzaro told the court Thursday that there was no evidence of Williams distributing the pornography, but the sheer fact that he had the files was disturbing.
“There’s a reason why possessing it is a crime, and a serious one,” he said.
Bonifant, prior to sentencing, said he agrees with a recent medical evaluation that Williams behavior was “due to stimulants.” But he said the same doctor’s report also states that Williams has a risk of relapse into addiction.
“Mr. Williams, I’m not punishing you. I’m punishing the acts that you did,” he said.
Williams’ sentence includes five years of incarceration, with all of the time suspended except six days.
As part of his punishment, Williams must attend three self-help groups every week for two years, get a sponsor, complete 500 hours of community service and not use the internet other than for work.
In a letter to parents on Sept. 16, Quince Orchard Principal Elizabeth Thomas wrote that Williams was a coach at the school from 2015 to 2018. His arrest, she wrote, was unrelated to his duties at the school.
“His alleged behavior is extremely concerning and these charges represent a violation of our school’s core values and the values of our Montgomery County community,” Thomas wrote in the letter.
Dan Schere can be reached at email@example.com