Joshua Rutherford, 37, of Camden-Wyoming and Newark, faces a sentence of up to 10 years for attempting to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity.

A former Smyrna High School teacher has pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity.

The plea was announced Monday by U.S. Attorney David C. Weiss of the District of Delaware.

Joshua Rutherford, 37, of Camden-Wyoming and Newark, entered the guilty plea before the Honorable Gregory M. Sleet of the U.S. District Court of Delaware.

According to statements made in court at the hearing, Rutherford responded to an online advertisement posted by an undercover detective with the Delaware State Police looking for men who were interested in incest with minor children. Using a mobile chat application, Rutherford responded to the advertisement and communicated with the undercover detective for almost a month. In those conversations, Rutherford expressed his desire to see nude pictures of a girl he believed to be 14 years old. Rutherford expressed his willingness to have sexual intercourse with the same minor while her father watched, and Rutherford demanded that the father have sexual contact with the minor first – while Rutherford watched – to prove that the father was not a member of law enforcement. Rutherford scheduled a time to meet the man he believed to be the father of a 14-year-old girl along with that 14-year-old girl for the purpose of having sex with that 14-year-old girl. Rutherford was arrested when he arrived at the meeting place.

U.S. Attorney David C. Weiss stated, "Our office reaffirms its unrelenting commitment to take whatever steps are necessary to pursue and prosecute those predators who seek to victimize our most precious and vulnerable citizens – our children."

Rutherford is being detained until sentencing where he faces a sentence of 10 years. Rutherford also faces a term of supervised release following imprisonment and will be required to register as a sex offender in any jurisdiction in which he lives, works, or attends school. Sentencing is scheduled for June 19.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Delaware Child Predator Task Force investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Graham L. Robinson is prosecuting the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, as a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse  Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children on the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.

For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.