Man arrested on child porn charges has Camas ties

Bradley J. Gilliam volunteered at Grace Church in Camas

Bradley J. Gilliam volunteered at Grace Church in Camas

A Vancouver man who volunteered with a Camas church youth group was arrested last Tuesday on federal child pornography charges.

Bradley J. Gilliam, 24, is charged with possession of and receipt and distribution of child pornography. According to the criminal complaint filed with the court, Gilliam shared illicit images of children, including toddlers, on a peer-to-peer network using the username “Bllover69.”

Investigators were able to trace the Internet protocol address used by “Bllover69” to the Vancouver home where Gilliam resides.

Homeland Security Investigations special agents and local police executed a search warrant at Gilliam’s residence last summer where they seized a laptop and digital storage devices.

Forensic analysis of the seized equipment revealed a library of thousands of images and video files of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

At the time of the search, investigators learned Gilliam was enrolled in courses to become a child sex abuse counselor and he was also a youth group volunteer with Grace Church on Southeast Everett Road. Authorities notified church officials of the ongoing investigation and they immediately suspended him from participating in youth activities.

On Monday, Senior Pastor Dave McCabe said Gilliam volunteered at the church with a youth group that included middle school and high school students for approximately four months. He attended the church for just a little longer than that.

According to McCabe, all volunteers and paid staff with the church, no matter what their responsibilities, undergo a nationwide criminal background check — and Gilliam was no exception.

“We did a thorough search,” he said. “Nothing came up.”

McCabe said he was shocked when he recently heard the report that in 2003 Gilliam was investigated by Camas police in connection with the rape of his next-door neighbor — an 8-year-old boy. In that case, prosecution was not pursued at the request of the victim’s parents.

“The first time I heard about that was Friday,” he said. “It turned my stomach. It’s difficult. We did our due diligence, but we didn’t know.”

Most background checks only show convictions, not arrests or investigations. McCabe said he would like to see organizations conducting background checks allowed access to that kind of information.

“How come with organizations like ours, information is withheld?” he questioned.

McCabe that Homeland Security’s investigation has so far revealed that there is no evidence of misconduct by Gilliam against children at Grace Church.

“We take very seriously the protection of our kids,” he said.

The case is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Vancouver Police Department, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and the Seattle Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers.

The public can contact HSI at (360) 693-7712 with information related to the investigation.