A man who worked as bus driver and an elementary school custodian thought he was getting to know a 14-year-old girl online. He was shocked to discover that little Brianna was actually an undercover agent looking to find child predators.
That was two years ago, but on Thursday, a jury found 49-year-old William Pruitt guilty of enticing a minor for sex - a charge that carries a minimum 10 years to a maximum life sentence in prison.
Pruitt was the custodian at a North Carolina elementary school and a school bus driver, officials said.
In Nov. 2017, Pruitt started talking with "Brianna" on Craigslist. The undercover agent posted an ad in the personals section that Pruitt responded to, according to Charles Peeler, the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.
During the online conversation, the undercover agent informed Pruitt several times that “Brianna” was 14. Officials said the online chatting became sexual in nature - with Pruitt making lewd comments and telling her he wished to have sex with the girl.
Officials said he also asked the girl to send nude photos of herself, even offering to pay money for her to send her used underwear to his mother’s house.
Pruitt allegedly lewd comments and stating directly that he wished to have sex with the girl, asking the girl to send nude photos of herself and even offering to pay money for the child to send her used underwear to his mother’s house for his personal graphic use. During the correspondence,
According to officials, Pruitt made it clear he was traveling from North Carolina to Columbus, Georgia to meet the child for sex. When he arrived at the home, to his surprise, handcuffs and police were waiting for him. He was taken into custody at the front door of the home on Nov. 12, 2017.
"Sexual crimes against children, particularly when the perpetrator is in a position of trust, are truly the most deplorable crimes in our society today. The defendant’s conviction is part of a much larger effort in Georgia to fight the child sex and pornography trade on the internet,” said Peeler. “Law enforcement agencies at every level are successfully working together to arrest and prosecute people who intend to hurt children. This collaboration directly results in children being protected in Georgia.”
Authorities said Pruitt admitted that he knew the child was underage and that he was battling sexual fantasies with similar age girls.
Pruitt's arrest was part of a larger Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children (GICAC) sting that operated from Nov. 9, 2017, until Nov. 13, 2017, centered in Columbus, Georgia. Approximately 20 individuals were arrested during this operation.
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