A fortune telling couple out of Savannah, Georgia, received federal prison sentences over charges that the husband tried to coerce minors for sex and his wife tried to cover it up.
Staff Sgt. Michael Wilson, 38, pleaded guilty to attempting to coerce a minor into sexual activity and has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison, prosecutors announced Wednesday.
Wilson must still face a military court-martial at Fort Stewart, which is set to start early next year. His wife, Lori Wilson, 35, was already sentenced in October to nearly six years in prison after pleading guilty to tampering with a victim or witness.
The alleged interactions with minors took place between 2017 and spring 2019 over the internet and through cellphones, federal prosecutors stated.
Lori Wilson also went by the alias “Loretta Lightningbolt.” The couple lived in the Savannah area and had a modest online following thanks to their tarot card readings and mystic pursuits.
From March to September 2019, Lori Wilson attempted to persuade an unidentified victim that the sexual assaults they reported were “merely ‘psychic visions’ or ‘dreams,’” rather than the victim’s actual experiences, according to an indictment that offers few other details.
She attempted to dissuade the victim from providing information to Army Criminal Investigation Command agents who were pursuing the allegations, the indictment stated. Her husband’s indictment provided no further information.
“It takes tremendous bravery for a victim to come forward, particularly when that victim is a child,” Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, said in a statement regarding the sentencing. “Lori Wilson further victimized this child by attempting to persuade the victim that it had all been a dream, when Wilson knew she was compounding the child’s nightmarish victimization.”
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It was not clear in the court records why Michael Wilson was sentenced for attempted coercion of a minor, while his wife’s indictment stated that she attempted to dissuade the reporting of a sexual assault. Attempts to reach Christine were not immediately successful.
However, Michael Wilson’s court-martial charges relate to multiple minor victims, according to federal prosecutors.
Calls placed at a phone number listed for Lori and Michael Wilson were not returned. The couple denied the charges against them during tarot card readings and through social media posts in the fall of 2019.
As an active duty member of the Army, Wilson was also charged with seven violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Article 120(b), rape and sexual assault of a child.
A military case docket that matches Wilson’s name and charges states that his trial will be held at Fort Stewart and his general court-martial convening authority will be from 3rd Infantry Division, which is based there. The trial is scheduled for Feb. 1.
Wilson will also have to pay $100,000 each in restitution to two minor victims and, after completion of his prison term, will be required to serve 15 years of supervised release and register as a sex offender, a Justice Department release stated. There is no parole in the federal system.
“This prison sentence punishes Wilson for his conduct and serves as a clear warning to those considering similar abhorrent conduct that Army CID, and our federal law enforcement partners will fully investigate such allegations and seek incarceration and restitution,” said Chris Grey, spokesman for Army Criminal Investigation Command, in a statement.
The cases were investigated by federal agents from the FBI and Army.
About Kyle Rempfer
Kyle is a staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the U.S. Army. He served an enlistment as an Air Force Special Tactics CCT and JTAC.