A trainee priest studying seminary in Columbus, Ohio has been arrested on horrific charges in California, Independent reports. The trainee priest, Joel Wright, 23, of Pontifical College Josephinum, was picked at San Diego International Airport by agents from Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations after getting off of his flight. The trainee priest was arrested under suspicion of being on is way to Mexico in order to have sex with an infant or toddler south of the U.S. border.
According to allegations made by authorities, trainee priest Wright had been in communication with via email with someone he believed to be a travel guide but who was actually an undercover federal agent. Wright reportedly attempted to arrange a trip to Tijuana, Mexico, for the purposes of adopting or purchasing a female child under the age of three. The reason? To have sex with her, according to authorities.
WSYX reports that the investigation into the behavior of the seminary student and future priest began in November of 2015, when they got a tip about a Craigslist ad reportedly placed by Wright. Investigators said that the reported ad was in search of an infant for adoption in Tijuana. The tipster, according to the criminal complaint, responded to the Craigslist ad and discovered that it had been placed by a trainee priest. Federal investigators have said that the ad in question was placed by Wright, who was taking seminary courses to become a priest.
During the investigative process, the tipster reportedly disclosed to authorities that he’d actually been in communication with priest trainee Wright about adopting a child from Mexico. The tipster, whose identity has been withheld by investigators, also reportedly revealed that the priest-in-training had made at least one previous trip to Tijuana for the purposes of procuring a child, back in July of 2014. During that trip, the trainee priest met with the tipster in order to adopt a child, and according to reports Wright even paid an “adoption fee” to the tipster, who promised to return with the child but never did.
During the tipster’s most recent conversations with trainee priest Wright, which were generated by the November 2015 Craigslist ad, Wright ultimately divulged his desire to “engage in illicit sexual conduct with female infants.”
“I have not gone all the way before but I have made it very close in the past so I do have experance. (sic)”
It was reportedly at roughly this point in the email exchange between the tipster and the trainee priest that the tipster was replaced by an undercover federal agent, who continued the ongoing discussion in much the same vein. Ultimately, priest trainee Wright allegedly wrote that he wanted to travel to Tijuana, Mexico for the purpose of adopting or purchasing a child under the age of three in order to have intercourse with that child.
The investigation into the priest trainee cumulated when he stepped off of a plane in San Diego on January 29 in order to meet the person who would supply him with a child sex slave and was immediately handcuffed by federal agents instead.
“This investigation opens a window into a secret world where sexual predators prey on young children around the globe.”
Following his airport arrest, priest trainee Wright was charged with 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. Both federal charges are felonies. Trainee priest Wright’s arraignment is expected to take place on Monday in federal court.
In the wake of the shocking charges levied against the would-be priest, Pontifical College Josephinum spokesman, Reverand John Allen spoke to the Columbus dispatch, saying the seminary college was “shocked and saddened,” calling the alleged crimes “reprehensible.” Priest trainee Wright has also been expelled from the institution.
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