DETROIT – A U.S. prosecutor was arrested in an Internet sting operation after flying from Florida to Michigan allegedly to have sex with a 5-year-old girl, officials said.
John David Roy Atchison, 53, appeared Monday in U.S. District Court in Detroit on a charge of interstate travel to have sex with a minor. He is an assistant U.S. attorney in northern Florida.
The arrest followed several weeks of Internet conversations between the prosecutor and a detective posing as the mother of a 5-year-old girl, authorities say.
The prosecutor is charged with using interstate communication to entice a minor to have sexual contact and with traveling across state lines with the intent of engaging in illicit sexual contact. The charges carry a possible sentence of up to 30 years in prison.
Atchison, of Gulf Breeze, Fla., was arrested Sunday at Detroit Metropolitan Airport as part of an undercover sting operation by the Macomb Area Computer Enforcement Team.
"There wasn't much reaction from him at all," said Macomb County Sheriff Mark Hackel, whose department runs the team. He said Atchison was cooperative with authorities.
Atchison brought a Dora the Explorer doll, hoop earrings and petroleum jelly with him from Florida, the Detroit Free Press reported.
According to court records, Atchison initiated an online chat Aug. 29 with an undercover officer posing as a mother interested in letting men have sex with her daughter.
In several conversations, he said he wanted to have oral, vaginal and anal sex with the woman's fictitious daughter, Hackel said.
"I'm always gentle and loving; not to worry; no damage ever; no rough stuff ever ever," Atchison said at one point, according to an affidavit filed in court.
"I've done it plenty," he said.
Hackel said his department brought in federal authorities after it became clear that the case involved an out-of-state suspect.
The arrest has come as a shock in Florida, where Atchison is president of a community sports organization, the Gulf Breeze Sports Association, where girls as young as 4 can participate in the soccer program.
Teresa Hawthorne, the organization's youth sports coordinator, told FOXNews.com no one from the association would comment on the case.
Atchison was a soccer and baseball coach, Lt. Rick Hawthorne of the Gulf Breeze police told the Detroit News.
"I'm shocked," Edwin "Buz" Eddy, the city manager of Gulf Breeze told the Pensacola News Journal. "That's about all I can say. I hope this is something that can be cleared up by some explanation. What that might be, I don't know."
Eddy told the paper that he had known Atchison for more than a decade and considered him a "pillar of the community."
Atchison's wife is a science teacher at Gulf Breeze High School.
The couple have three children high school age or older, according to the Detroit News.
The fact that an Internet child sex suspect is a law enforcement official shouldn't be unexpected, Hackel said.
"The people who are doing it come from all walks of life," the sheriff said. "It doesn't surprise us anymore."
Atchison asked for a court-appointed lawyer. A detention hearing was scheduled for Tuesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.