HUNTINGTON — A Huntington man was sentenced to serve more than six years in federal prison after admitting to traveling to Huntington to meet an underage girl.
Bruce Allen Ward, 34, of Huntington, pleaded guilty to traveling in interstate commerce in order to engage in illicit sexual activity with a minor.
He was sentenced Monday to serve a 6 1/2-year prison sentence. He was additionally ordered to serve 15 years of supervised release after the completion of his prison sentence.
According to an affidavit filed in a Huntington federal court, Trooper Rachel Grose with the West Virginia State Police was made aware Jan. 19 that an undercover employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force had joined a social media dating application that allows users to find others nearby with whom they can communicate and meet.
While on the app, the agent was contacted by Ward on Jan. 10, who was identified in his profile as a 43-year-old Huntington man, although Ward later told the agent he was actually 30. The agent told Ward he or she was a 15-year-old female.
The two exchanged cellphone numbers and continued communication, which became sexually explicit in nature. On the same day, Ward also sent the agent three pictures of his genitals.
On Jan. 23, the two began discussions about where they could meet, with the agreement that intercourse would take place. The suspect allegedly requested the agent wear a short dress, “booty shorts” or a cheerleader outfit for their meetup.
During conversations with the agent, Ward indicated he had recently been released on a bond for a criminal charge in Ohio and he was not supposed to leave the state, but he still agreed to travel from South Point, Ohio, to Huntington for the meetup.
On Jan. 25, Ward arrived at the agreed upon location where the two would meet. He parked his vehicle around the block from the location and upon entering the home was arrested.