Former Columbus seminary student charged after allegedly trying to have sex with babies in Mexico


[with video]

By Dan Pearlman and Michelle Rotuno-Johnson
Published: January 29, 2016

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SAN DIEGO (WCMH) – An Ohio seminary student suspected of travelling to San Diego to have sex with multiple infants in Mexico was taken into federal custody Friday at Lindberg Field by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Joel A. Wright, 23, of Columbus, Ohio, is charged in a criminal complaint with two felony counts, according to the ICE. The allegations include travelling with the intent to engage in a sexual act with a minor; and attempting to engage in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign country within the Southern District of California.

Father John Allen with the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus said Wright was a student there for one semester. Allen said Wright’s status as a seminarian was terminated the moment he left the seminary without authorization.

The Diocese of Steubenville issued the following statement.

Joel Wright was a first year pre-theology student at the Pontifical College Josephinum, Columbus, Ohio.

Wright was discerning ordination to the priesthood for the Diocese of Steubenville.

Immediately upon learning of the allegations against Wright, Diocese of Steubenville Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton suspended Wright from the studies.

The action is in accord with the diocesan child protection decree.

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