GRAPHIC: Manifesto leads to man’s arrest for various child sex crimes in Florida, Kansas, police say
CONTENT WARNING: This story contains disturbing content.
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW/Gray News) - A 24-page manifesto and confession to authorities in Florida led to one man’s arrest for hundreds of child sex crimes that span decades.
The Topeka Police Department has confirmed to WIBW that detectives recently assisted the Stuart Police Department in Florida with an investigation into a case that covered hundreds of child sex crimes, some of which took place in Kansas.
The Stuart Police Department said on Aug. 26 that they arrested James Leonard Ward-Nichols, 61, as a result of their extensive investigation, which remains ongoing.
Police reported Ward-Nichols admitted to being in possession of child pornography and to have confessed to crimes that span decades and occurred across the nation.
An arrest affidavit obtained by WIBW indicated that at about 1:30 p.m. Aug. 26, Ward-Nichols called first responders to turn himself in and confess to various crimes.
When law enforcement officials arrived, Ward-Nichols told them he had committed a crime at a local Walmart on Aug. 29, 2015, in which he indecently exposed and pleasured himself in front of several children. When asked if he would come to the station for further questioning he stated, “I was kind of expecting that.”
Once in the police interview room, police noted that Ward-Nichols confessed that “a whole bunch of child pornography” was harbored on his laptops that were in police custody by that time. He also said he had forwarded his confession to various news outlets.
As law enforcement officials reviewed the laptop, they said Ward-Nichols also confessed to owning a storage unit in Topeka with more hard drives full of child porn. He said he downloaded his masses of pornography from various sites on the dark web.
In Ward-Nichols’ typed confession, also obtained by WIBW, he noted a storage locker in Topeka contains hours of footage of him pleasuring himself next to a playground in Lawrence, Kansas, near a Montessori school. He said he had specifically chosen his housing in Lawrence to do so.
This was not his only crime in Kansas, according to the document. Between 2000 and 2006 and again between 2013 and 2014, Ward-Nichols said he also stole Bibles from and desecrated a small church in Alta Vista. He also claimed to have pleasured himself inside dozens of Dollar Generals in Kansas, Missouri, Colorado and other states.
In his manifesto, Ward-Nichols confessed that he led a church youth group himself and that he had confessed these crimes between 1997 and 2009 to a now-deceased priest at a Catholic church in Kansas City.
The confession contains more information detailing crimes that happened in New Jersey, Colorado, Arizona and more.
As of Wednesday, Ward-Nichols remains behind bars in Florida with no bond listed.
Copyright 2023 WIBW via Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.