BY CHRISTY ARBOSCELLO
DETROIT FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
A federal prosecutor flew to metro Detroit with a Dora the Explorer doll, hoop earrings and petroleum jelly for a 5-year-old he planned to have sex with, police say.
John David Roy Atchison -- who prosecutes civil and criminal matters as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern Florida District -- appeared on the other side of the law Monday in Detroit federal court. Atchison, 53, of Gulf Breeze, Fla., was charged with enticement of a minor using the Internet and knowingly traveling interstate to engage in illicit sex.
According to court documents, during an Internet chat with an undercover officer, Atchison described himself as "very much a family man." He initiated the online chat Aug. 29 with the officer posing as a mother interested in letting men have sex with her children.
During continuous conversations, he expressed a desire to engage in oral, vaginal and anal sex with her fictitious daughter. Money was not part of the discussion.
In the chats, he also suggested he previously had sex with minors.
With eyes cast downward and fiddling with papers, Atchison asked for a court-appointed attorney Monday until he obtains his own. He was ordered to remain in custody, pending a detention hearing at 1 p.m. today. He faces up to 60 years in prison if convicted of the crimes.
Atchison, who is married and has children, boarded a Continental flight that left Pensacola, Fla., at 9:10 a.m. Sunday with a layover in Houston. He then changed planes, leaving Texas for Detroit Metro Airport and arriving at 4:52 p.m., where he was taken into custody without incident about eight minutes later.
Atchison's arrest was part of an undercover sex sting on behalf of the FBI Macomb Office and the Macomb County Sheriff's Office collaborating in the Macomb Area Computer Enforcement Team, also known as M.A.C.E.
"Nothing surprises us anymore," Sheriff Mark Hackel said Monday.
Besides working for the government in the Pensacola office, Atchison also serves as the president of the Gulf Breeze Sports Association, which includes youth athletics such as soccer and T-ball. Messages left at Atchison's home were not returned Monday. A person who answered the phone at the association said the board probably would release a statement today.
Dixie Morrow of the U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern Florida District, said she would not comment on the arrest or Atchison's professional background.
M.A.C.E. began cracking down on Internet crime six years ago. Soon after, officers became desensitized to the language predators use, Hackel said. Now they're almost unfazed when they discover prominent community figures are behind the perverse exchanges, he said.
"We don't care who they are. It doesn't matter," Hackel said, adding his team will track down the criminals regardless of their position.
Earlier this year, in separate incidents, a paramedic and a zoo consultant traveled from California to Macomb County and were nabbed in the same type of sex sting. And last year, the Orlando Sentinel reported that another Florida prosecutor, who worked in Rockwall County, killed himself after police said he was caught soliciting sex with a minor.