Former student priest, Joel Alexander Wright, above, has been sentenced to almost 16 years in prison for attempting to procure infant girls for sex.
Wright, 23, of Columbus, Ohio, was studying to be a Catholic priest at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus when he was arrested in January this year on federal charges. He was accused of trying to travel to Mexico to sexually assault infant girls.
Wright had faced a maximum sentence of life in prison after pleading guilty to a charge of attempted enticement of a minor. After entering the guilty plea, last Friday he received a sentence of 15 years, eight months.
Wright admitted in the plea agreement that he authored sexually explicit emails in which he described his desire to assault little girls aged three or under.
He also confessed that he placed ads on Craigslist Tijuana starting in November 2015, purporting to seek a tour guide. Upon being contacted, he confided that he wanted to:
Adopt/own a baby girl (under the age of 3) and I want to have intercourse with her after I own her but don’t be telling people that … I won’t pay until I have seen the baby and I will pay the parents then … the cheapest baby under 3 would be good.
The person with whom he corresponded was a cooperating witness for the authorities, federal prosecutors said.
In another email, this one to an undercover federal agent, Wright admitted he:
Picked up an infant pain relief med and a pretty outfit which I think should fit the 1 or 2 year old.
He further stated in the electronic mail that he would:
Try to find some lube here at the store that we can use.
Wright traveled to San Diego from Ohio on January 29, arriving at the airport at 11:30 a.m. Upon deplaning, he called the undercover agent and notified the individual the flight had landed, prosecutors said.
He was then arrested.
In his possession were two cellphones and a duffle bag that contained baby clothes, sleep aids, bottles, toys, candy and lubricant.
US.Attorney Laura Duffy said in a press release.
There are no words to describe the horror that might have happened, had this man carried out what he intended to do – sexually exploit and assault innocent toddlers and infants.
A Vermont native, Wright – a glaucoma sufferer – was profiled by a local news station in 2008 when he traveled to New York City for a mass held by the Pope. Wright told WCAX he was considering becoming a priest.
I’ll be praying for my vocation, and for God to guide me, and for peace in the world.