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Press Release

Active-Duty Navy Psychologist Pleads Guilty to Child Exploitation Charge

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

NORFOLK, Va. – A Norfolk man pleaded guilty yesterday to attempted coercion and enticement of a minor.

According to court documents, on May 25, Lieutenant Michael Andrew Widroff, 34, a Naval Officer previously assigned as the psychologist for the USS GERALD R. FORD (CVN-78) in Norfolk, initiated sexual conversation with who he believed to be a 14-year-old girl over Snapchat. He later expressed that he thought the girl was “hot” and that he wished to meet her in person. Widroff instructed the girl on how to masturbate and explained that he wished to engage in numerous sexual acts when they met. On June 7, Widroff drove from work to meet with the girl for sex and deleted the incriminating Snapchat application off his phone prior to his arrest.     

Widroff is scheduled to be sentenced on February 23, 2024. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Mack Hickman, Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Elizabeth W. Hanes accepted the plea.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Victoria Liu is prosecuting the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:23-cr-78.

Updated October 13, 2023

Project Safe Childhood