BECKLEY, W.Va. – A Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty today to travel in interstate commerce to engage in illicit sexual activity with a minor. Gregory Thomas O’Connor, 47, of Stahlstown, Pennsylvania was charged by a single-count Information in April 2021.
According to the plea agreement, O’Connor admitted that on August 7, 2020, he initiated contact with a person on a Kik Messaging group for West Virginia teens. Believing a person to be a 13-year-old girl from Beckley, O’Connor engaged in conversations over the next six weeks wherein he told the minor he wanted to meet her to engage in sexual activity. O’Connor also coached her on masturbation and watching pornography in order to prepare for their sexual encounter. On September 2, 2020, O’Connor intended to travel to Beckley to meet the minor. He drove from Pennsylvania to Fairmont, but then had to turn around due to a work emergency. Following that time, he continued to discuss traveling at a future date to meet the girl for sexual activity.
If the plea agreement is accepted by the Court, O’Connor will be sentenced to 97 months in prison followed by 15 years of supervised release when he is sentenced in September 2021. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.
Acting United States Attorney Lisa G. Johnston made the announcement. Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Rada Herrald is handling the prosecution.
The FBI Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force handled the investigation. United States District Judge Frank W. Volk presided over the hearing.
This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative of the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 5:21-cr-00073.