Former Virginia Navy officer, psychologist sentenced to 14 years in attempted coercion of minor

Virginia prosecutors obtained a 14-year prison sentence Friday for a U.S. Navy officer found guilty of attempted sexual coercion of a minor while serving as a psychologist in Norfolk, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The incident began when 34-year-old Michael Widroff, a former Navy psychologist assigned to the USS Gerald R. Ford in Norfolk, started a conversation on the Whisper social media platform. The post included a picture of a male wearing a Navy Service Dress White uniform and “accompanying text indicating that he wished to engage in fraternization or other violations of military law,” according to the release.

“In the military context, fraternization is improper relationships between officers and enlisted personnel, including, as stated by Widroff, ‘when two people who aren’t supposed to date-hook up do,'” prosecutors said.

An undercover member of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, posing as a 14-year-old girl, responded to Widroff’s post.

The conversation became sexual as Widroff said he “thought the girl was ‘hot'” and moved their communications to Snapchat.

“Widroff instructed the girl on how to masturbate and explained that he wished to engage in numerous sexual acts when they met,” the department said.

Court documents showed that Widroff “described to the child, in graphic detail, numerous sexual acts in which he wanted them to engage.” Eventually, he requested “sexy” and “nude photos” of the child along with explicit recordings.

Afterward, Widroff tried to arrange an in-person meeting at the teen’s home. Anxious about being seen, prosecutors said that Widroff planned to enter the home through a back door.

He was arrested on June 7 at a traffic stop in the neighborhood where he planned to meet the 14-year-old. As officers pulled him over, he deleted Snapchat from his phone, prosecutors said.

Widroff plead guilty to charges on Oct. 12.

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Ivy Lyons

Ivy Lyons is a digital journalist for Since 2018, they have worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC News in Washington, and with WJLA in Washington.

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