Franklin man indicted for alleged sex with a minor

Published 7:30 pm Tuesday, December 17, 2019

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A Franklin man had been indicted by a grand jury earlier this month on several felonious counts of allegedly having sexual intercourse with a minor girl in England. Specifically, Joshua Ray Hatfield is cited for coercion and enticement of a minor; two counts of traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct; three counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places; and criminal forfeiture. This information comes from court documents provided by Joshua Steuve, director of Public Affairs for the U.S. Attorney’s Office | Eastern District of Virginia.

In the affidavit, Special Agent Paul G. Wolpert gave his statement as to why a criminal complaint should be made. He is with the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security Investigations. He explained that part of his work as an HSI agent is to investigate criminal violations pertaining to child exploitation and child pornography.

Wolpert stated that in August of this year, an HSI attache in London, England got details from the Derbyshire Police Department, which reported an adult U.S. male citizen came to the United Kingdom and had performed sexual acts with a 15-year-old girl identified as JDI. Both the man, discovered to be Hatfield, and JDI had reportedly been having an online relationship. He had traveled to the girl’s residence on or about May 4- this year.

After returning, Hatfield had allegedly told JDI he had gotten chlamydia from an ex-girlfriend. JDI in turn told her mother about needing a doctor after experiencing symptoms of the venereal disease. The girl had also told her mother that Hatfield was 17, though he was 22 at the time of his visit. The two had reportedly been communicating for about a year starting when she was 14 years old.

Evidence from JDI’s mobile phone revealed to the police investigator both texts and images of Hatfield and the juvenile engaged in sexual acts, including information about the disease.

Wolpert concluded, “Based on the information and evidence set forth above, I respectfully submit that there is probable cause to believe that Joshua Ray Hatfield has committed the following offenses: 1) from on or about May 4, 2018, through on or about May 9, 2019, in the Eastern District of Virginia and elsewhere … .”

Hatfield, who is out on bond, is scheduled to be arraigned today, Dec. 18, at 2:30 p.m., before Magistrate Judge Lawrence R. Leonard in Norfolk Magistrate Courtroom 2 of the Norfolk District Court.