(STL.News) – A Keswick man pleaded guilty today to his role in producing images of child sexual abuse and attempting to meet a minor for sex.
According to court documents, Bryan Wesley Petitt, 33, engaged in sexually explicit communications with an undercover agent he believed to be a 14-year-old minor. Petitt drove from Charlottesville to military housing in Norfolk in order to engage in sex with the girl. Upon his arrest, law enforcement discovered images of child sexual abuse on his phone. Investigators later learned that Petitt produced one of the images.
Petitt pleaded guilty to production of child pornography and attempted coercion and enticement of a minor. He faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 50 years in prison when sentenced on December 14. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Gregory Scovel, Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Norfolk Field Office; Raymond Villanueva, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C.; and Larry D. Boone, Chief of Norfolk Police, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge A. Gibney, Jr. accepted the plea. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Heck is prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:20-cr-16.