PEORIA – James Wright, 50, of the 1500 block of South Easton Avenue, in Peoria, Illinois, was sentenced on September 9, 2021, to 37 years (444 months) in prison, to be followed by a lifetime term of supervised release, for attempted sex trafficking of a child as a registered sex offender.

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At Wright’s sentencing hearing, U.S. District Court Judge James E. Shadid found that Wright’s claim that he had merely been attempting to investigate the trafficking of children, rather than attempting to engage in a sex act with a child, lacked credibility in light of the evidence produced at trial. Judge Shadid noted the lengths Wright had gone to in order to engage in a sex act with an individual that he believed to be a 15-year-old girl. Judge Shadid further stated that Wright’s 2012 state conviction for aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a minor female of the same age made his excuse even less believable.

At sentencing, the government produced evidence that Wright had engaged in protracted online discussions and negotiations related to engaging in a sex act with a minor and also had attempted to solicit pornographic images of the minor. The government noted that Wright had arrived at the location where the sex act was supposed to occur at the time agreed upon in those communications and stated that Wright was carrying the exact amount of money that had been agreed upon in a separate pocket from the rest of his money.

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