Benton, KY man sentenced to 15 year for attempted sex crimes with a minor

METROPOLIS, Ill. (KBSI) – A man from Benton, Kentucky was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to traveling to Illinois to engage in sexual activity with a minor in May 2020.

Justin A. Wadsworth, 37, pleaded guilty to attempted enticement of a minor and attempted commercial sex trafficking of a child, according to the Southern District of Illinois U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“Increasingly, children are becoming victims of crimes committed online. With the spread of these crimes, the FBI remains steadfast in our commitment to stop sexual predators before they strike,” said FBI Springfield Field Office Special Agent in Charge David Nanz in a news release. “This sentence delivers a clear message that those who seek to harm children will face significant prison time.”

According to court documents, Wadsworth responded to an online ad referencing incest and began unknowingly conversing with an undercover FBI agent on April 28, 2020, according to the Southern District of Illinois U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Transcripts of the conversations included Wadsworth explaining to the FBI that he was “active” with a close relative and the two discussed exchanging pictures. When the FBI said they had an “active” 10-year-old girl, Wadsworth asked to see sexually-explicit photos and in return sent photos of females in various degrees of nudity. Wadsworth expressed interest in “young active fun,” and stated he would pay $1,000.

The pair arranged to meet in Metropolis, Illinois. When federal agents approached Wadsworth, he consented to an interview. Wadsworth claimed he had agreed to meet with the purported father to expose him and rescue the girl.

Wadsworth also received five years of supervised release. He was ordered to pay $500 in fines and $200 in special assessments.

The FBI-Springfield conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Casey Bloodworth prosecuted the case.

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