Justin A. Wadsworth, 37, of Benton, Ky., admitted to charges of attempted commercial sex trafficking of a child and attempted enticement of a minor, according to a Jan. 11 news release. Wadsworth was also given five years of supervised release and an order to pay both $500 in fines and $200 in special assessments.
“Children are susceptible to sexual exploitation on the internet, which means investigative techniques must evolve where minors are most at-risk,” U.S. Attorney Rachelle Aud Crowe said in the release. “Undercover investigations conducted on online platforms are vital to protecting minors from predators before acts can be committed, and I applaud this valiant effort to put Justin Wadsworth in prison for his crimes.”
On April 28, 2020, Wadsworth responded to an online ad about incest and unknowingly began conversing with an undercover FBI agent, the release reported. According to transcripts of the discussions, Wadsworth told the agent that he was "active" with a close relative and they had discussed trading photos.
He requested to see sexually explicit photos after the agent informed him they had a 10-year-old girl who was "active," and in response, received photos of women in various stages of undress, according to the release. Wadsworth said he would pay $1,000 to participate in "young active fun."
He and the agent agreed to meet in Metropolis, Ill., and when Wadsworth was approached by federal agents upon arriving, he agreed to an interview, admitting he agreed to meet with the agent believing he would be saving the young girl from her father, the release reported.
The investigation was conducted by FBI Springfield and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Casey Bloodworth, according to the release.