Joel Wright, a 23-year old priest-in-training from Ohio, was sentenced to 16 years in jail after trying to travel to Mexico to have sex with infants.
Wright pled guilty in April to attempted enticement of a minor, admitting he posted an ad on Craiglist seeking children as young as one-year old in order to molest them.
In 2014, he offered any willing family $150 to babysit their child. A mother in Tijuana, Mexico responded to his ad, he then told her he wanted to adopt and have sex with her baby. He added that he bought an outfit for the child to wear and infant pain relief medication. The Tijuana mother reported Wright to Homeland Security investigators via CyberTipline in November last year; an agent then took over her account.
During the emails back and forth between Wright and the undercover agent, Wright allegedly admitted that he sought to 'buy' children in Tijuana to commit sex acts against. The complaint from their correspondence 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 of Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, initially planned to travel to Mexico on December 11, he however got cold feet; he stayed home and stopped emailing the undercover agent.
On December 28 however, he posted another Craiglist 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 woman who originally reported Wright contacted the ad's sender and realized the would-be pedophile had posted a new ad to resume his malicious plans.
Once again the 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. In February 2016, Wright, a former student at Franciscan University, then traveled to San Diego as planned and was arrested when he landed.
On Friday, he was sentenced to 15 years and eight months in prison, a much longer sentence than the 10 months 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.