Joel Wright: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know


[with copy of the criminal complaint]

By Tom Cleary

A 23-year-old man who was studying to be a priest at an Ohio seminary is accused of trying to pay to rape a 1-year-old baby and a 4-year-old girl in Tijuana, Mexico.

Joel Wright was arrested Friday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in San Diego, the agency said in a press release.

Wright has previously tried to adopt a baby from Mexico, according to court documents.

He is charged with traveling with the intent to engage in a sexual act with a minor and attempting to engage in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign country, both felonies, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California said.

“This investigation opens a window into a secret world where sexual predators prey on young children around the globe” Dave Shaw, special agent in charge for ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations office in San Diego. “Pedophiles who mistakenly believe they can escape justice by committing child sex crimes outside the U.S. should be on notice that HSI will seek to vindicate the rights of those victims regardless where they live. Fortunately, in this instance, our perseverance and diligence prevented the sexual exploitation of yet another innocent victim.”

(Warning: The story below contains graphic sexual content from court documents.)

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Wright Said He Wanted to Adopt a ‘Baby Girl’ & ‘I Want to Have Intercourse With Her After I Own Her’

Federal authorities were tipped off about Wright in November 2015 from a Tijuana, Mexico, resident who had responded to an advertisement on Craigslist soliciting the adoption of infants. The ad had allegedly been posted by Wright, according to court documents.

The tipster told ICE agents he had lied to Wright and told him he could help him adopt a child. They first met in July 2014 when Wright traveled to Tijuana and paid him money as an adoption fee, the person said. He told Wright he was going leave to get the child and then come back, but he never returned.

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