Smyrna teacher arrested on child solicitation charge

SMYRNA — A Smyrna High School teacher and assistant football coach has been arrested on a charge of solicitation of sex with a child, the Delaware Department of Justice announced Friday morning.

The department, in a prepared statement, said an undercover investigation by the Delaware Child Predator Task Force resulted in the arrest of Joshua Rutherford, 35, of Camden-Wyoming.

Investigators said that in mid-February Mr. Rutherford allegedly began a chat conversation with an undercover investigator whom he believed was the father of a teenage girl on an online social media network, according to the release.

Joshua Rutherford

Joshua Rutherford

During these chat conversations, investigators say Mr. Rutherford expressed his interest in meeting the daughter for sex, and also requested nude images.

On March 10, he allegedly arranged to meet the investigator at a park in Dover the next day, according to the task force.

On March 11, the Delaware Child Predator Task Force, assisted by the Delaware State Police Special Operations Response Team arrested Mr. Rutherford.

He was charged with one count each of sexual solicitation of a child under 18 to engage in prohibited sexual act and attempted dealing in child pornography.

On Friday, Smyrna School District Superintendent Deborah Wicks said Mr. Rutherford was placed on unpaid leave immediately “as would any employee who is arrested on charges like this.”

A substitute teacher took Mr. Rutherford’s classes beginning Monday, Ms. Wicks said.

Mr. Rutherford began his employment by the Smyrna School District in mid-August, she said. His teaching duties were not disclosed by the district.

Department of Justice spokesman Carl Kanefsky said, “The Smyrna School District has fully cooperated with the task force in the investigation, but we cannot comment further.”

According to Mr. Rutherford’s Facebook page, he studied sports management at Wesley College and is originally from Newark.

He listed his residence as Wyoming.

Search warrants were executed at Rutherford’s residence and on the vehicle he was operating, the Justice department said.

As a result of the two search warrants, detectives seized a laptop computer, an external hard drive, numerous USB thumb drives and other related evidence.

The Department of Justice said anyone with information or concerns can call the Child Predator Task Force at (302) 739-2030.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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