Severn Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison for Coercion and Enticement of a Minor to Engage in Illegal Sexual Activity
Baltimore, Maryland – Antonio Wright, age 42, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to coercing and enticing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct and to two counts of production of child pornography.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Acting Special Agent in Charge Jennifer L. Moore of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.
Wright admitted that he used an online social network to induce the victim, Jane Doe, to engage in sexually explicit conduct, and to produce images of that conduct. According to his plea agreement, Wright was in a relationship with the victim’s mother from at least 2009, when Jane Doe was four years old, and lived with the family intermittently until the Spring of 2017.
Beginning in at least August 2017, Wright and the victim, who was living with a foster family in Baltimore, began communicating by text messages, audio messages and images, using an online social network. The messages frequently included Wright’s love for Jane Doe, who told Jane Doe that they should eventually get married. Jane Doe was approximately 13 years old at this time. Wright instructed the victim not to tell others that she has “an older man for a boyfriend,” and that he would get in trouble if anyone found out.
On January 4, 2018, Wright spent time with Jane Doe at his residence when Baltimore City schools were closed due to snow. That afternoon, Jane Doe’s foster mother noticed that Jane Doe did not come home when she expected her. When she was unable to locate Jane Doe, she found the tablet that Jane Doe was using to communicate with Wright and observed the sexually explicit chats and images. After Wright brought Jane Doe home that afternoon, her foster mother filed a report with the Maryland Department of Human Services, who referred the case to Child Protective Services for investigation. As part of the investigation, Jane Doe’s tablet and social media accounts were searched, and sexually explicit photos, texts, messages, and voice messages were located.
As part of his plea agreement, Wright will be required to register as a sex offender in the places where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
Wright faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and up to life in prison for enticement and coercion of a minor; and a mandatory minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in prison for each of the two counts of production of child pornography. Chief U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar has scheduled sentencing for June 7, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.
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 the United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc and click on the "Resources" tab on the left of the page.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the FBI and Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul E. Budlow, who is prosecuting the federal case.
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