Thu., 12:38pm: Niles `Santa Claus’ sentenced in child pornography case

WARREN — A Niles man known in his neighborhood as “Santa Claus” was sentenced to 20 years in prison today after pleading guilty to child pornography charges in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.

William Brock, 65, pleaded guilty to 35 counts of pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor.

Federal, state and local law enforcement officials raided Brock’s Mason Street residence July 19 looking for child pornography.

Police also arrested Connie Ramirez, 43, of Austintown in connection to the investigation. Ramirez pleaded guilty in September to three counts of rape and one count of pandering obscenity involving a minor.

She was sentenced to 25 years in prison without the possibility of parole. She is also classified as a Tier 3 sex offender and will have to register her address with the county sheriff’s office the rest of her life.

Brock, who was indicted by a Trumbull County grand in September, reportedly is known by neighborhood children as Santa Claus because of his white beard.

Investigators said they found at Brock’s home images of Ramirez, who had lived with Brock at one point, engaged in sex acts with juvenile females, including a relative, and other images of bestiality, some of which were recorded on a cell phone and sent to Brock. Some of the photos also included sexually explicit images involving a canine and Ramirez.

Investigators said Ramirez had worked at an Austintown preschool and daycare for about 12 years.