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Press Release

North Carolina Man, Who Sent Nude Picture to FBI Undercover, Pleads Guilty

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia
Willy Korthals Believed he was Chatting with a 9-Year-Old Child

HARRISONBURG, Va. – A North Carolina man, who sent a nude photograph to an employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation whom he believed to be a 9-year-old girl, pled guilty yesterday to federal child pornography charges.

William “Willy” Alexander Korthals, 30, of Beaufort, NC, waived his right to be indicted and pled guilty yesterday to a one-count Information charging him with attempted transfer of obscene matter to a minor.

“One of the cornerstones of the Department of Justice’s mission is protecting the most vulnerable among us: our children.” United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said today. “This case should serve as a warning to all predators lurking online seeking to exploit children: You are not invisible, and agents from the FBI and other federal agencies are actively hunting you in every corner of the internet in order to bring you to justice.”

“Protecting children from all forms of exploitation is one of our highest priorities,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Richmond Field Office, Stanley M. Meador. “We will continue to fully investigate these crimes and work with our law enforcement partners to protect children from predators, hold them accountable and protect our communities. I want to thank the I-81 Human Trafficking and Crimes Against Child Task Force and our partners for their work on this case.”

According to court documents, in May 2022, Korthals was in a Kik chat room for “Active Parents,” in a group titled “Loving Family,” when he responded to a public group thread that read, “anyone want to come to Virginia to have sex with my daughter?”

Korthals reached out to the individual who posted the thread and inquired about the age of the “daughter” and was told she was nine years old.  Unbeknownst to Korthals, the thread was posted by an undercover FBI employee posing as the girl’s father. In an effort to coax the “daughter” to send him pictures, Korthals sent a photograph of his erect penis. 

For over a year, Korthals chatted with the undercover FBI employee and requested “live” photographs of the 9-year-old as well as other sexually explicit photographs and videos, and also attempted to Facetime with the undercover “father and daughter.”  Additionally, Korthals described specific acts of sexual abuse he wanted the “father” to perform on his “daughter,” including oral, vaginal, and anal sex.

In preparation for an in-person meeting with the undercover father and his “daughter” in August 2022, Korthals sent his laboratory test results of his sexually-transmitted disease status to the undercover “father” so that Korthals could have unprotected sex with the 9-year-old “daughter.” Two days before the planned meeting, Korthals cancelled it.

At sentencing, Korthals faces a maximum statutory penalty of up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Melanie Smith is prosecuting the case.

The case is brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identity and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

Updated January 31, 2024

Project Safe Childhood