By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia police officer is behind bars, arrested on child pornography charges, Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams said Thursday afternoon. William Watts, Sr., 55, was arrested Thursday morning and charged with transportation and possession of child pornography.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Watts downloaded several files of child pornography from WhatsApp that included depictions of “prepubescent children engaged in sexual acts, some with adults.”

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Watts was arrested after the FBI executed a search warrant at his home on Thursday morning.

“The defendant sought out videos of children being abused for his own gratification — thus adding to the demand for these types of images to be produced and more children to be victimized,” Williams said. “The convenience and accessibility of digital images, coupled with the ease with which child sexual exploitation crimes can be concealed online, make these cases extremely difficult to investigate and prosecute. However, our Office and our law enforcement partners are committed to doing this difficult work in order to hold people like this defendant accountable, no matter their position in the community or occupation.”

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Authorities say Watts was employed as a Philadelphia police officer at the time of his arrest.

“No one is above the law,” Bradley S. Benavides, acting special agent in charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia division, said. “If you’re seeking out images of children being sexually abused and exploited, you’re perpetuating the victimization of innocents and the FBI is going to investigate and bring you to justice. Protecting children is the priority here.”

Watts has been suspended for 30 days by the Philadelphia Police Department with intent for dismissal.

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Watts has an initial court appearance scheduled for Friday. He faces up to 40 years in prison.