A man who admittedly traveled from Wisconsin to Houston with the intent of engaging in sex with a toddler girl pleaded guilty to traveling with the intent to engage in illicit contact and enticing a minor.
Benjamin David Sherwood entered his plea on November 14 and is scheduled to appear before Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal this week to hear his sentence, according to court documents.
They also showed an agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security connected with Sherwood in 2015; the agent posed as a woman seeking to sexually exploit her entirely fictional 2-year-old daughter.
Agents reportedly posted messages in a chatroom dedicated to discussing and sharing images of adults who would use young children for their sexual gratification.
They reportedly further recorded a series of email exchanges, text messages, chat transcripts and telephone conversations between herself and Sherwood from August 2015 until May 2017.
In those conversations, agents say Sherwood admitted he could only get sexually aroused around young girls. He also admitted he knew what he proposed to do with the child is illegal.
According to the agent, Sherwood sent a photo the car he planned to rent to make the trip from Wisconsin to Texas.
“I’m very excited I can barely stand it,” Sherwood wrote in a message to the agent. “Finally get to love on your baby Angel.”
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An affidavit by the federal agents who set up the sting showed Sherwood brought blankets and a video to distract his potential victim during the act.
Agents who surveilled Sherwood noted he bought presents at a Babies R Us store; when they arrested Sherwood at his hotel room, they found pacifiers and lubricant on a nightstand.
Judge Rosenthal could sentence Sherwood to up to 30 years in federal prison for traveling across state lines with intent to engage in illicit contact with a minor.