Mass. Man Pleads Guilty to Traveling Interstate to Engage in Sex with a Minor
PROVIDENCE, RI – A Brockton, MA, man pleaded guilty in federal court in Providence, RI, on Tuesday to traveling interstate on multiple occasions to engage in illicit sex with a 15-year-old minor he met on an online forum.
Andy Joseph, 24, pleaded guilty to two counts of traveling interstate with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, announced United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations for New England Michael S. Shea, and Pawtucket Police Chief Tina Goncalves.
Appearing before U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith on Tuesday, Joseph admitted to the Court that in June 2016, after meeting the victim in an online forum, he traveled from Massachusetts to Rhode Island, engaging in illegal sex acts with the victim and causing her to become engaged in commercial sex acts that took place in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Joseph did this by advertising the victim for commercial sexual purposes on the website Backpage.com. These ads, paid for by Joseph, contained a cell phone number to call for the sexual services, as well as actual pictures of the 15 year-old victim. This activity continued until Joseph’s arrest on December 1, 2016.
Joseph, who has been detained since his arrest, is scheduled to be sentenced on July 20, 2018. Traveling interstate to engage in illicit sexual conduct is punishable by statutory penalties of up to 30 years in federal prison, 5 years to lifetime years supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Terrence P. Donnelly. The matter was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and Pawtucket Police.