The Rhode Island State Police announce that members of the State Police Computer Crimes Unit and Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force have arrested a Warren Little League coach and former East Bay Warriors Pop Warner football coach for Possession of Child Pornography.
Michael “Bird” Witherell, 59, of 336 Child Street, Apartment #2, Warren, Rhode Island was arrested for possession of child pornography. The investigation was initiated by the RI ICAC Task Force after they received a cyber tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) reporting that a Rhode Island resident was transmitting files that contained child pornography. Subsequent investigation determined that the internet connection at 336 Child Street, Apartment #2, Warren, was used to access/possess child pornography.
Earlier today, ICAC Task Force members executed a search warrant at the address and identified Michael Witherell as the alleged owner of digital media used to possess the child pornography. Detectives seized Witherell’s personal cellphone, computer, as well as numerous printed images depicting child pornography. Forensic examinations of Mr. Witherell’s cellphone and computer are pending.
Witherell has coached youth baseball (ages 10-12) in the Warren Little League program for the past forty years. Witherell also coached for the East Bay Warriors Pop Warner football program (ages 10-13) from 1982 – 2014. At this time, there is no evidence of any involvement with members of the Warren Little League or the East Bay Warriors.
Detective Commander Major Timothy G. Sanzi stated, “This investigation is ongoing and anyone with further information regarding Mr. Witherell is encouraged to contact the Rhode Island State Police/Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force at (401) 921-1170.”
Witherell will be arraigned on the charges at Sixth Division District Court this afternoon. A person found guilty of Possession of Child Pornography may be subject to a fine of not more than five thousand dollars, or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.