Police allege Wright was engaging young girls on the Internet — and particularly on Facebook — by sending obscene pictures and correspondence to them. He is currently charged with one count related to one child, but police had confirmed at least eight potential victims as of press time and that number was climbing steadily as investigations continued.
The alleged victims were girls between 11 and 16 years old, mostly located in the Sumiton, Empire and Sipsey areas.
Charges regarding these additional victims are expected in the near future, Walker County District Attorney Bill Adair said.
Sumiton Police have seized all of Wright’s electronic devices and are currently sorting through the information and accounts on them to determine other potential victims.
Sumiton Police Chief T.J. Burnett said Wright once lived in Sipsey as well as near the Jefferson County line, but most of his alleged victims were not believed to know him personally. They believe he may have posed as a teenage boy in order to gain access to the girls’ profiles. Police said they were alerted to the issue when one mother found the obscene photo on her daughter’s account and brought it to the police station.
“This is a very troubling case, especially this time of year when kids are out of school and spending a lot of time on computers and cell phones,” Adair said.
Adair and Burnett said they are also afraid there may be more victims who have not come forward and encouraged local parents to talk to their children, especially daughters who are near the target age range. They said some of these girls may not have been conversing with Wright, but had been sent an obscene picture and just deleted or blocked the sender without mentioning it to their parents. Anyone who thinks their child may have been targeted should contact Sumiton Police at 205-648-3261.
“Investigator Kris Price and Officer Tim Martin have worked tirelessly with me on this case, and we are still investigating this individual,” Burnett said.
Adair commended Burnett and the Sumiton Police for their work on this case, “This case evolved in a very similar way to the Dateline show ‘To Catch a Predator.’ We anticipate more charges in the coming days and weeks.”
Wright is currently being held in the Walker County Jail on $1 million dollar cash bond. He was arrested at his place of employment in Birmingham, and Burnett said his company had been very cooperative in the investigation.