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Philly man arrested for traveling to meet a child for sex, who referred to himself as “dirty old Santa”

District Attorney Jack Whelan and Captain Scott E. Willoughby of the Ridley Township Police Department announced William T. McKinlay, 56, of the 900 block of Marcella Street in Philadelphia is facing multiple felony charges for attempting to lure who he thought was a 14-year-old girl for sex. The arrest comes at the conclusion of an undercover investigation by the Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division (CID) Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) and Ridley Township Police Department.

McKinlay faces first-degree felony charges including criminal use of a communications facility, attempted statutory sexual assault and solicitation, and attempted involuntary indecent sexual intercourse.  If convicted, McKinlay faces a lifetime Megan’s Law registration. 

On April 12, Officer Tim Kearney of the Ridley Township Police Department was acting in an undercover capacity on an investigation for the Pennsylvania ICAC Task Force. Posing as a 14-year-old girl named “Stephanie,” Officer Kearney responded to an Internet advertisement posted on a website titled, “young uns – m4w (NE).” After responding to the AD, McKinlay and “Stephanie” began exchanging messages during which “Stephanie” confirmed she was 14-years-old.

After learning her age, McKinlay began having sexually explicit conversations with “Stephanie.”  During the course of a month, the defendant explained to “Stephanie” how to masturbate and ordered her to do “homework” which involved learning how to masturbate herself and provide graphic detail to McKinlay. During one conversation, McKinlay sent a picture with his hand spread across his mouth, sticking his tongue through his fingers, telling “Stephanie” that the fingers are her legs and his tongue is so he can perform oral sex on her. He also sent graphic pictures and referred to himself as “dirty old Santa.”

Believing he was speaking to a 14-year-old girl, McKinlay described how he would love to see “Stephanie” naked and teach her about sex. On June 12, they began discussing meeting up in person, and two days later, it was confirmed they would meet at 4:00 pm on Wednesday, June 21 at an ice cream store in Ridley Township.  He told her it would help if she didn’t wear many clothes in the first place, and told her to wear a sleeveless t-shirt, shorts, sneakers and nothing else.

On June 21, McKinlay arrived at the ice cream store in Ridley Township, to meet who he thought was a 14-year-old girl. Instead, he was met by Officer Kearney, Officer Leo Doyle of Ridley Township, CID Det. Edmond Pisani, Det. Sgt. Kenneth Bellis of the ICAC Unit and detectives with the Ridley Township Police Department.


He was taken into custody without incident and remanded to the Delaware County Prison after failing to post bail which was set at ten percent of $250,000. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 10.


As the result of the investigation it was determined that McKinlay held himself out as Santa. Further investigation confirmed that he was a seasonal employee at Macy’s in Philadelphia although his exact position could not be confirmed.


“I would like to commend Officer Tim Kearney and Officer Leo Doyle of Ridley Township Police, CID Det. Edmond J. Pisani, Jr. and Det. Sgt. Kenneth Bellis for their swift action to apprehend the defendant without incident,” said District Attorney Jack Whelan. “The allegations against McKinlay are a reminder to parents of the need to be vigilant in protecting children from those who relentlessly prey upon them on the internet.”