Ex-seminarian who studied in Columbus charged with planning to rape infant in Mexico

The Columbus Dispatch

By Jim Woods
The Columbus Dispatch • Friday January 29, 2016

A man who was studying to be a priest at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus was arrested on federal charges Friday, accused of trying to travel to Mexico to sexually assault infant girls.

Instead, Joel A. Wright was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Homeland Security investigators in San Diego on two federal charges of traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.

Wright, 23, was expelled from the Josephinum, on the Far North Side, on Friday morning because he had left school without permission, said the Rev. John Allen, a spokesman for the school.

“We’re both shocked and saddened to learn of his involvement in such reprehensible allegations,” Allen said. Wright, from Vermont, had been at the school for a semester, Allen said.

Federal agents first learned in July 2014 that Wright had paid a person in Tijuana, Mexico, to adopt a child with the intent of having sex with a female baby. The child was never delivered to him, court records say.

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