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Press Release

Harford County Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Using a Computer to Attempt to Coerce a Minor to Engage in Sex

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                    Contact ELIZABETH MORSE                                                     at (410) 209-4885



Baltimore, Maryland – On August 16, 2017, U.S. District Judge George L. Russell III sentenced William Ray Wagner, age 34, a resident of Harford County, Maryland, to 10 years in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release for the use of interstate facilities to coerce a minor to engage in sex.


The sentence was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Stephen M. Schenning; Special Agent in Charge Gordon Johnson 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).


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 For more information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the "resources" tab on the left of the page.


Acting United States Attorney Stephen M. Schenning 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. Schenning thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul E. Budlow, who prosecuted the case.

Updated August 17, 2017

Project Safe Childhood