Molestation charges
Fort Smith man charged with child molestation/pornography

Maria Canton
Northern News Services

NNSL (May 03/99) - A Fort Smith businessman is being held in custody on a charge of possession of child pornography, as well as charges of indecent assault, gross indecency and sexual assault.

William George Phillips, 48, appeared in a Fort Smith courtroom last Thursday for a show cause hearing on the charge of possession of child pornography.

Following a search of Phillip's home and business in Fort Smith, RCMP found evidence alleging the possession of child pornography.

Phillips is also scheduled to appear in court in High Prairie, Alta., June 21, to face the related charges, which involve two males who were in the care of Phillips at a High Prairie group home in the early 1980s.

When the two High Prairie victims came forward, RCMP tracked Phillips to Fort Smith.

"(Phillips) has been gone from High Prairie for years and years," said Sgt. Ivan Simon of the High Prairie RCMP. "Through investigations we found him in Fort Smith."

Phillips was working at the High Prairie group home in the early '80s when he allegedly committed gross indecency and indecently assaulted one young male and sexually assaulted two young males.

Both victims were said to be in their early teens when the incidents occurred.

A publication ban exists on all matters concerning Thursday's Fort Smith hearing, but Phillips will re-appear in court again on June 15.

The accused owns Liz's Corner Store in Fort Smith -- a convenience store and video rental outlet, which is a well-known hangout for the community's young people.

Fort Smith RCMP refused to comment on the investigation or details leading to the arrest of Phillips.

"Currently the matter is still under investigation and is before the courts," said Sgt. Alan McCambridge.

Phillips is also facing one charge of unsafe storage of a firearm.