For many years, Princess Charlène of Monaco’s closest adviser, Father William McCandless, has been accused of possessing extreme child pornography. He risks up to 60 years in prison in the United States. But his team of lawyers suggests that it is intrigue in the Monagasque palace that lies behind the accusations, and that this is the reason why the priest is being sacrificed. The fear is that Princess Charlène will be sucked into the scandal.
They came with about fifteen people, while father Marc Ghirardi was still eating breakfast after the morning mass in mid-March this year. It was a motley crew of police officers, a prosecutor, computer experts and six Americans. They showed Father Ghirardi the search warrant to search the premises of the Congregation of the Order of the Oblates Saint Francis de Sales in Monte Carlo and William – Father Bill-McCandless’ office in Monaco’s palace. The priests present, as well as Vicar General Guillaume Paris, were then questioned for hours.
What were they looking for? As proof that the longtime confidant and confessor of Princess Charlène (44), William McCandless, was allegedly guilty of downloading thousands of images of child pornography to the principality, which the pastor then smuggled into the United States. Scary footage showing some of the images of children being raped and tortured that Father Bill is now due to appear in court in the United States on June 20.
Father Bill, who was sent to Monaco by his fellow believers in the United States in 2010 after his name appeared in a civil lawsuit involving his order, the wafers, and a victim of sexual abuse. In Monaco, William McCandless was appointed pastor of one of the few English-speaking churches in Monte Carlo.
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There also began his close personal relationship with Princess Charlène, who soon considered him one of his closest friends after her marriage to Prince Albert in 2011. William McCandless was soon awarded the title of official adviser to Charlène of Monaco. He served on the board of her charity, attended the birth of her twins, and married her brother Gareth Wittstock. Father Bill had his own office in the palace and went in and out until 2017, when he was recalled by his congregation to his fellow believers in the United States. But the contact between father Bill and Charlène has remained to this day.
When a palace employee discovers child pornography images on one of William McCandless’ palace computers after traveling to America, Monaco police are called. There will be a research report of no less than 98 pages. The extreme child pornography that has been found is so shocking that the judiciary in Monaco is informing their colleagues in the United States about their findings. They confiscated an iPhone and two computers in McCandless’ home. Experts from the forensic laboratory in the US state of Arizona also found a large amount of child pornography on cell phones and computers. An arrest warrant has been issued and Father Bill is handcuffed.
He is eventually released on bail and placed under house arrest with an ankle bracelet. Father Bill is allowed to leave his upscale single-family home in Wilmington, southwest of Philadelphia, but must remain close to home. Prosecutor Edward G Smith has now set June 20, 2022, as the first day of Father Bill’s trial. A process that starts with the jury selection and is expected to take several months.
One of Father Bill’s lawyers, John Waldron, believes his client’s claims stem from a palace plot. “Things were going on at the palace before he left Monaco who could not bear the light of day,” said Waldron, who declined to go into detail. “The people involved in it did not like that McCandless knew about it.”
Father Bill will therefore plead not guilty. His lawyer Michael Diamondstein: “The computers that were seized and examined and on which child pornography was found had, in addition to my client, access to several palace staff. These computers were not even password protected, and one of these computers even had access to palace visitors. In addition, the child pornography was not found until three months after my client left Monaco. That child pornography could also have been downloaded after my client left. “
Emails to the Monegasque embassy in Washington, where Father Bill’s defense team writes that they hope to meet with Prince Albert, 64, because it will certainly provide apologetic evidence to their client, were answered by the embassy that their own investigations of Father Bill has not yet finished. It seems that Prince Albert does not want to burn his hands on the case, where his wife is also indirectly involved. So much the more reason for Father Bill’s defense attorneys to suspect a palace plot behind the charges against their client.
The defense believes that father Bill encountered a possible scandal in court, after which the child pornography was deliberately put on his phone and computers. U.S. Attorney Sherri A. Stephan, on the other hand, believes William McCandless is the culprit and will be convicted. ‘The real man has been linked to the charges. If nothing else because the accusations from Monaco are not the only ones that led to the accusation. This not only happened abroad, but continued as he crossed international borders, under the guise of doing the work of the Church. The innocent children in the photos found will have to deal with the consequences of this alleged abuse for the rest of their lives. “If William McCandless is found guilty, he risks up to 60 years in prison.
For Charlène, the charges against her closest adviser must be hard to bear. For years, she opened her heart to him and confided intimate things to him. She talked to him regularly about her needs and concerns. For her twins, he was a welcome family friend who often played with them. In Monaco, he was one of the few people whose loyalty Charlène believed in. The extent of Father Bill’s loyalty will become clear during the upcoming trial. That his lawyers suspect a palace plot behind the charges against their client does not bode well for Princess Charlène