NORFOLK, VA. – A federal judge convicted a Norfolk man today on charges of traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor.
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Charles Willoughby III, 39, served as a youth group leader at New Life Worship Center (NLWC) in Norfolk.
From 2006 to 2012, Willoughby routinely groomed minor teenage girls who were part of the church’s youth program in an attempt to abuse them sexually.
On June 26, 2012, Jane Doe, who was then 15 years old, and other youth group members boarded a chartered bus from NLWC to travel to Georgia for a national church youth group conference.
Willoughby served as one of the chaperones.
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While on the bus there, Willoughby forced Jane Doe to engage in a sexual act. Jane Doe did not disclose the abuse until 2018, and other victims were identified after that disclosure.
Willoughby faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison when sentenced on April 19, 2023. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Derek W. Gordon, Acting Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C.; and Colonel Gary T. Settle, Superintendent of Virginia State Police, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Elizabeth W. Hanes pronounced the verdict.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elizabeth Yusi and Megan Montoya are prosecuting the case.