23-year-old seminary student, Joel Wright, was taken into custody by Department of Homeland Security agents in San Diego, after she reportedly travelled to Mexico, in an attempt to adopt a child.
Ohio priest-in-training has been sentenced to 16 years in jail.
Joel Wright, 23, pleaded guilty in April to attempted enticement of a minor, admitting he posted an ad to Craigslist seeking children as young as one year old to molest.
In 2014, Wright made his first, unsuccessful attempt to adopt a baby girl or toddler, to use as a sex slave, according to law enforcement.
When a mother in Tijuana, Mexico, responded, he told her wanted to adopt and have sex with her baby. He added that he had bought an outfit for the child to wear and infant pain relief medication.
In February 2016, Wright, a former student at Franciscan University, then travelled to meet the mother – who had alerted authorities and handed over her Craigslist account to federal agents.
When he landed in San Diego he was arrested.
And on Friday, he was sentenced to 15 years and eight months in prison – a stretch from the 10-month sentence his attorney recommended.
U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw said Wright, who was born severely disabled and has a litany of health problems including blindness, accomplished many things in life but for whatever reason, over the past few years, pursued children, according to KSWB-TV.
‘The circumstances of this case were unspeakable, but today’s sentence assures this individual won’t pose a threat to children any time in the near future,’ Dave Wright, a special ops agent for Homeland Security, told the LA Times after the sentencing.
Wright waived his right to a detention hearing and declined to seek bail after he was arrested in February, the Times of San Diego reported.
After the Tijuana mother reported Wright to Homeland Security investigators via CyberTipline in November last year, an agent took over her account.
Emailing back and forth with the undercover agent, Wright allegedly admitted that he sought to ‘buy’ children in Tijuana to commit sex acts against.
The complaint reveals horrifying details of Wright’s plans.
In one email, Wright allegedly wrote that he hoped a child he believed he was about to rape would resist.
‘If she is angry at me she will be even more fun because she will probably try to get away and it is so much more fun when it is a bit of a struggle – what do you think?’ Wright allegedly wrote on December 6 last year.
Wright, who studied to be a priest at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, initially planned to travel to Mexico on December 11, but got cold feet, stayed home, and stopped emailing with the undercover agent.
But on December 28, he posted another Craigslist ad seeking a ‘female tour guide’ to help him navigate Tijuana.
‘Looking for a female who can help me when I visit and show me local attractions and good food along with places to have fun and introduce me to good people. Please respond with your email and contact information and a pic,’ the ad read.
The same person who originally reported Wright contacted the ad’s sender and realised the would-be paedophile had resumed his malicious plans.
Again, undercover agents took over the communication.
After Wright wrote to the agent saying he had purchased a ticket to San Diego, the plan was set up to arrest him upon arrival in California.