Seminary Student Made Prior Attempts to Obtain Baby
By Julia Kramer
February 4, 2016
Details on the past of a seminary student who was arrested earlier this week on child sex charges have come to light.
Joel Wright, 23, was apprehended in San Diego, CA after he was tracked by a Homeland Security investigations team. He was allegedly on his way Mexico to "rent" a 3-year-old female child for sexual assault purposes.
Wright is being charged by federal prosecutors with felony counts of traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and aggravated sexual abuse of a child.
A police report shows that Wright may have begun his search for a child in May of last year, right here in Steubenville.
Last spring, a call was made to the Steubenville police department concerning a post found on Facebook and Craigslist. The report says Wright, a former Franciscan University student, was looking to pay $150 to babysit a child.
Franciscan University confirmed they are aware of the posts and had notified Steubenville police around the same time the report was filed.
Over the last several months, Wright had moved to Columbus and was studying to become a Roman Catholic priest at Pontifical College. Allegedly, he continued his search to find an infant or female child under the age of 4 to film while sexually assaulting them.
Steubenville Police Chief Bill McCafferty said he is being advised by the Department of National Security to not comment on the ongoing investigation.
Since his arrest, Wright has been expelled from the seminary school. He is being held without bond in a San Diego jail.