DETROIT – The FBI is trying to identify victims of Detroit tugboat owner Wade Streeter, who is accused of befriending young boys on Facebook, arranging to meet them privately and even drugging one child before molesting him, federal officials said.
Wade Preston Streeter, 49, of Detroit, was indicted Tuesday on charges of production, possession and receipt of child pornography.
He is accused of having sexual conversations with several young boys on Facebook and inviting one over to his house to “clean his basement,” giving him alcohol and drugs and molesting him, according to court records. The boy said he developed an addiction to drugs after the incident.
Boy molested at Detroit home, FBI says
A 21-year-old man came forward Oct. 31, 2018, to tell FBI agents he had been drugged and molested around seven years earlier by Streeter.
He said interactions with Streeter began around 2009, but focused on an incident around 2011, when he was 14 years old, court records show.
Streeter offered the boy money to clean the basement of his Detroit home, officials said. Streeter worked with the boy’s mother to organize the plans and picked the boy up from his parent’s house early one Friday morning, according to authorities.
When they got back to Streeter’s home, Streeter showed the boy around and offered him an alcoholic drink, court records show. The boy drank the beverage and followed Streeter to the second floor of the home, the FBI agent in charge of the investigation said.
There was a small television in the room, and Streeter put on a movie about boats, officials said. He sat with the boy on the coach and showed him a photo album of boats, according to authorities.
At some point, Streeter gave the boy two pills, telling him that they would help him relax -- one quickly and one in the long term, court records show. The boy took the pills around 11 a.m., he said.
Streeter changed the movie to a pornographic film about a man and a woman engaging in sex acts, officials said. He started to rub the boy’s stomach under his shirt, according to court records.
The man told authorities he remembers starting to feel dizzy and light headed at that point. He said Streeter reached into his pants and touched his private parts with his hand, officials said.
He doesn’t have any memory of what happened afterward, court records show.
When he woke up the next morning, he was wearing an undershirt and boxers in the bedroom on the second floor, according to authorities. He said he heard a shutter sound similar to the one made when a photo is taken with an iPhone, officials said.
The boy spent the rest of the day with Streeter, but doesn’t remember many details about the day, according to court records.
Pills lead to addiction, man says
Streeter drove the boy back to his parents’ house Sunday and provided him with eight to 10 pills similar to the ones he’d used two days prior, officials said.
Before dropping the boy off, Streeter told him not to tell his parents about the pills, according to authorities.
Officials said the boy became addicted to narcotics, and he believes the first supply of pills from Streeter led to his addiction. He thinks the pills were the drug Klonopin, court records show.
After realizing he had an addiction problem, the victim visited a therapist recommended by Streeter, officials said. Streeter took the victim to the therapy session and told him, “Don’t tell her I molested you when you were younger,” according to court records.
Streeter told the victim’s parents that he thought their house was toxic for the boy, officials said. The boy believed Streeter was trying to get his parents to send him to stay with Streeter, officials said.
Man confronts Streeter
Around Feb. 2, 2018, the man exchanged messages with Streeter on Facebook about the molestation when he was younger, according to authorities.
The man said Streeter apologized multiple times after being confronted about the incident.
Streeter told the man he “can’t change the past,” but that he could “learn from it,” court records show.
Streeter admitted to having “photographs” of the man as a boy, but he deleted them, according to authorities.
Other young victims
FBI agents interviewed an 18-year-old Michigan man on May 23, 2019, as part of the Streeter investigation.
The man told an FBI agent he had met Streeter when he was about 12 years old through Facebook.
He said Streeter consistently made “awkward” comments to him through Facebook Messenger, including asking for photographs of him without his shirt on, according to agents.
At one point, Streeter asked the boy to send a photo of him just wearing underwear, court records show.
FBI agents conducted several interviewed between Oct. 31, 2018 and August 2019, officials said. They learned multiple minor boys had been sexually abused by Streeter or had engaged in sexually explicit conversations with him.
Streeter committed the alleged crimes at home and on his tugboat, according to authorities.
At least seven boys, including a then-13-year-old with autism, reported having sexually explicit conversations with Streeter in 2019, court records show.
FBI agents executed search warrants on Aug. 28 at Streeter’s home on St. Paul Street in Detroit and his tugboat, officials said.
Streeter was present for the search warrants and told agents they would find his electronic devices in the bedroom, court records show.
FBI agents said Streeter admitted to having sexual conversations with minors and Facebook and to masturbating in the presence of a minor while watching pornography with him.
Streeter said he was aware of the allegations from the first victim, officials said.
Authorities seized electronic devices, including two external hard drives that were in the nightstand next to Streeter’s bed, according to court records.
Officials said they found numerous images of young boys engaging in sexual acts or with their private parts exposed. The photos were from June 13, 2003, to July 29, 2019, court records show.
WARNING: Some of these descriptions are explicit and disturbing.
One image displayed a young girl looking up at a young boy while touching his private parts, according to authorities. The National Center for Exploited and Missing Children said the children were identified by FBI agents in Kentucky.
Another image showed a boy with his pants pulled down, officials said. NCMEC said the minor was identified by DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in Florida.
A third image showed a boy wearing boxer shorts, according to FBI agents. NCMEC said the boy has been identified by FBI officials in Michigan.
A fourth image showed a boy only wearing baggy pants, officials said. NCMEC said the boy has been identified by Fedpol in Switzerland.
Authorities said there were many other images of boys with their shirts off. Some photos were zoomed in on the area around their private parts, according to court records. Those images were of boys in Michigan, including the victim interviewed on May 23, 2019, FBI officials said.
One image specifically listed in the criminal complaint was of a boy wearing just boxer shorts, court records show. The image was taken July 24, 2004 by a Sony Cybershot digital camera, according to authorities.
Officials believe the photo was taken inside Streeter’s previous home on Clippert Street in Detroit. The boy in the photo was 14 years old at the time, FBI agents believe.
Charges were filed against Streeter on Nov. 18. The criminal complaint was unsealed Nov. 21.
Streeter was indicted on charges of producing and attempting to produce child pornography, receiving child pornography and possessing child pornography, according to First Assistant U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsin.