FRANKLIN, Va. (WAVY) — A Franklin man was indicted on multiple felonies last week after he allegedly traveled to England to have sex with a 15-year-old girl he met online. The girl contracted chlamydia in the process, authorities say.
23-year-old Joshua Ray Hatfield of Franklin was indicted on Dec. 4 on three felonies, including coercion and enticement of a minor, traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and engaging in illicit conduct in foreign places.
According to court documents, Hatfield flew earlier in May of this year from the United States to Derbyshire, England, to meet with a girl he met online in 2018 when the girl was 14 years old.
The pair allegedly engaged in sexual acts at the girl’s home before Hatfield returned to Virginia. After returning home, Hatfield then contacted the girl to say he had contracted chlamydia from an ex-girlfriend, according to court documents.
An affidavit signed by Special Agent Paul Wolpert with the Department of Homeland Security revealed that the girl told her mother that she needed to go to the doctor after experiencing symptoms of the sexually transmitted disease. The mother then called the police.
According to the affidavit, the girl initially told the mother that Hatfield was 17 at the time of the visit, but he was really 22.
Following the Derbyshire Police Department efforts, the girl told an investigator she had been in communication with Hatfield for approximately a year when she was a 14-year-old. The pair communicated through text messages and phone calls on Snapchat, Whatsapp and Facetime.
Court documents show the girl revealed her real age to Hatfield and did not want to get him in trouble, believing they were in a relationship. The girl told an investigator their communication involved the discussions of engaging sexual acts when they finally met.
Authorities say messages and apps used to communicate between the pair were initially deleted from the girl’s phone, however they were able to reinstall them and recover the messages detailing the sexual acts they had engaged in.
After regaining content from the girl’s phone, Special Agent Wolpert revealed in the affidavit that investigators found images of Hatfield and the girl together and messages between the two engaging in sexual acts along with the discovery of the STD.
Hatfield is scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 18 in U.S. District Court in Norfolk.