Nearly two years have passed since a Maryland man expecting to meet a sweet, young thing came to a Chantilly sandwich shop for lascivious purposes. Tuesday morning in Fairfax County Circuit Court, he pleaded guilty to electronic solicitation of a minor.
THE MAN is Wesley Creel, 54, of 12424 Rivers Edge Drive in Potomac. And he was busted when the person he thought was a 15-year-old girl turned out to be a Fairfax County police detective with the Child Exploitation Unit.
Before accepting his plea, Judge Kathleen MacKay asked Creel, "Sir, you are pleading guilty to using a communications system to facilitate certain offenses involving children, as a second or subsequent offense within 10 years?" He replied, "Yes," and she then advised him that he could be sentenced to as much as five years in prison for this crime.
MacKay also made sure that Creel was entering his plea freely and voluntarily and because he was, indeed, guilty as charged. She noted, too, that the attorneys have made a plea agreement in his case for a suspended sentence plus probation, but that she is not bound by it.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Mark Sullivan then told her that, between Feb. 24 and March 9, 2005, a particular detective was working online in an undercover capacity to catch child predators. Pretending to be a 15-year-old named Alexandria, he posted "her" profile on escorts.com.
"[The detective] was contacted by Creel, who called himself Wes," said Sullivan. "He asked 'her' if she'd pose for nude or lingerie photos for money. 'She' said yes, and then he sent her [these type of] photos."
They arranged to meet March 9, 2005, at 6 p.m., in the parking lot of a sandwich shop in the 13600 block of Lee Jackson Highway in Chantilly. And when Creel arrived, he was arrested.
He was indicted by the grand jury, Nov. 21, 2005, and then was slated at various times for both jury and non-jury trials. He was even scheduled for a jury trial on Tuesday, but opted to enter a plea, instead.
HIS ATTORNEY, Rod Leffler, told MacKay that, "Had this case gone to trial, the detective pretending to be a 15-year-old would have admitted that he deceived escorts.com by telling them he was a teen-ager. And the photo he sent them was actually a 27-year-old policewoman in a soccer uniform."
And although police contend that Creel fully intended to hook up with someone he believed was a teen-age girl, Leffler said, "My client would admit that he did send these e-mails, thinking all along this person was an adult."
The judge then found Creel guilty and ordered the county probation department to do a pre-sentencing investigation on him. She then set his sentencing for April 6.