A 23-year-old St. Croix man is facing a possible 20-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to attempting to lure children into sex online, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Gretchen Shappert.

Rashead Gerard pleaded guilty Wednesday to attempted coercion and enticement of a minor for sexual activity under an agreement with prosecutors. In addition to the possible 20-year sentence, Gerard could be fined up to $250,000. Sentencing is set for Feb. 12.

Gerard was arrested after federal agents conducted a sting operation to target and identify adults seeking sex with children, and created a fake ad designed to lure in predators, purported to be created by a father looking to sell his 14-year-old daughter for sex.

Gerard responded to the ad and undercover agents arranged a meeting at the Frederiksted Pier in August 2019, according to the affidavit filed by investigators. Gerard, the affidavit noted, went to the pier at the agreed time and was placed under arrest after approaching the undercover agent. He agreed to an interview with agents, as well as a search of his vehicle, where agents found $50 in cash and a box of condoms.

The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rhonda Williams-Henry.

- Contact Suzanne Carlson at 340-714-9122 or email scarlson@dailynews.vi.