Predator admits trying to have sex with underage girl he met online

An Ohio man admitted Wednesday in federal court that he traveled to another state to have sex with a 14-year-old girl, only to be met by an undercover police officer.

Donald E. Ward, 59, used social media and text messaging to correspond with someone he thought was a minor. After weeks of correspondence, Ward traveled to West Virginia to have sexual contact with the victim, only to learn that it was a police officer, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of West Virginia.

Federal authorities said Ward, who pleaded guilty to traveling in interstate commerce in order to engage in illicit sexual activity with a minor, faces up to 30 years in federal prison when he’s sentenced in September. Following his release, he’ll serve at least five years on supervised release and be required to register as a sex offender.

“We’re working with our law enforcement partners as hard and as fast as possible to identify and prosecute those who troll the internet to prey on minors,” said U.S. attorney Mike Stuart said in the statement.  “My intention is to lock up the monsters that prey on our children and families.”

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