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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Harford County Man Admits to Using a Computer to Attempt to Coerce a Minor To Engage In Sex

Baltimore, Maryland – William Ray Wagner, age 33, a resident of Harford County, pleaded guilty today to use of interstate facilities to coerce a minor to engage in sex.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Kevin Perkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey R. Gahler; and Harford County State’s Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly.

According to his plea agreement, in the fall of 2014, Wagner was communicating on Facebook with an individual he believed was a 14 year old girl who lived with her parents.  The individual was actually an undercover Harford County detective.

In early October 2014, Wagner attempted to meet the individual to engage in sex, and used his computer to initiate graphic discussions about sex.  He ultimately arranged to meet the individual at a restaurant in Bel Air on October 13, and then walk to a nearby trail to engage in sex. On that date, Wagner arrived at the agreed upon meeting location with a blanket and two condoms.  He was arrested.

Wagner had previously been convicted of unlawful contact with a minor in 2009 and as a result, was required to register as a sex offender in Maryland.  In April 2014, Wagner was arrested in Harford County and charged with failure to register as a sex offender.

As part of his plea agreement, Wagner must register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

Wagner and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea agreement Wagner will be sentenced to 10 years in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release.  U.S. District Judge George L. Russell III has scheduled sentencing for September 9, 2016 at 2:00 p.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 Attorneys' 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 Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI, Harford County Sheriff‘s Office and Harford County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation and prosecution.  Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul E. Budlow, who is prosecuting the case.

Topic: 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated May 17, 2016