New details on ex-seminary student accused of attempting to engage in sexual act with a child


By Dan Pearlman
Published: January 30, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — New details are emerging about the now-former Columbus seminary student who is accused traveling to California, with the intent of adopting a young Mexican child for sex.

Joel Wright, 23, was arrested at Lindberg Field, in San Diego, and he is now 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.

According to federal investigators, Wright’s arrest comes on the heels of a months-long investigation.

In the criminal complaint, a special agent with the Department of Homeland Security states Wright engaged in frequent email communications, indicating his interest in sexually assaulting children between the ages of one and four.

Wright was a first-year student at the Pontifical College Josephinum, according to seminary leadership. He joined the seminary in August, after clergy said he passed a rigorous background check which included a psychological evaluation, a criminal history check and personal interviews.

“We certainly do not want to admit anyone into our program if there is an inkling that that person might pose a threat to any person, especially to the young and the vulnerable,” said Father John Allen, Vice President for Advancement at the seminary.

Allen said Wright did not not have a disciplinary record at the college.

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