Bly found guilty in child sex case

Staff file photoRichard Bly tries to hide his face during an appearance in Newburyport District Court in 2016. 

SALEM — A Dracut man who, while out on bail in a Newbury child enticement case, traveled to New Jersey to meet what he thought was an 8-year-old girl and her mother at a hotel back in 2017 has been found guilty. 

Richard Bly, 68, is set to be sentenced on Nov. 13 by U.S. District Court Judge Kevin McNulty in Newark, New Jersey. He’s facing at least a decade in prison. 

Bly had been posting ads online looking for “curious young girls” or “taboo moms” willing to arrange for him to have sex with the girls.

In August 2016, Newbury Police Detective Aaron Wojtkowski had come across the ads and set up a sting, posing as a 14-year-old girl and convincing Bly to meet “her” at the Newburyport commuter rail station. 

Bly was initially held without bail. Then a Salem Superior Court judge concluded that the bail law does not include child enticement among the types of offenses that allow a judge to detain someone without bail as a danger because there is no force involved. Bly was released on $5,000 bail.

In February and March 2017, Bly began communicating with someone whom he believed to be the mother of an 8-year-old girl in New Jersey, eventually making arrangements to meet at a hotel in Ramsey, New Jersey. 

He was greeted by federal agents, who had pulled off another sting, and arrested. 

Bly’s trial got underway on Monday and concluded on Tuesday with a guilty verdict, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Newark, Matthew Reilly, said. 

Wojtkowski was one of two witnesses called by the prosecution during the trial, according to the case docket. 

The conclusion of the case will pave the way for Bly to be returned to Massachusetts to face trial in the 2016 case.  

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis.