BRADENTON -- A Palmetto winter resident was sentenced to 21 months in prison Thursday afternoon after pleading no contest to trying to have sex with a child.
John Everett Reed, 65, was charged with traveling to seduce, solicit or entice a minor for sex and using a computer to seduce, solicit and entice a minor to commit a sex act. He had been out on bonds totaling $100,000 since his arrest March 6.
Reed, a Palmetto winter resident from Wisconsin, was arrested as part of Operation Green Shepherd IV in which undercover detectives with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office targeted people looking to have sex with children. Fifteen arrests were made in the operation conducted March 2-10.
Reed entered into a plea agreement before Circuit Judge Susan Maulucci. In exchange for pleading no contest to the traveling for sex charge, the state agreed to drop the second charge.
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The plea deal sentences Reed to 21 months in prison followed by four years of sex offender probation based on minimum sentencing guidelines agreed to by both sides. After probation, Reed will also be required to register as sex offender.
"It's been a rough road in this case, but we have reached a resolution," defense attorney Steven Zimath said.
Maulucci also ordered Reed pay the costs of investigation and court costs, or do community service.
On March 5, Reed responded to an ad in the Casual Encounters section of Craigslist claiming his "wife was out of town" and he was "not shy and not afraid to try new things," according to his arrest report.
Undercover detective responded. Reed said he was looking for someone for his 14-year-old daughter.
Reed and the detective exchanged emails and text messages, before Reed reportedly asked if the detective was a police officer. They then agreed to speak on the phone so Reed could talk with the 14-year-old girl.
An undercover female detective spoke on the phone with Reed about having sex.
On March 6, Reed exchanged text messages with the detective and they agreed to meet at the Walgreens at the intersection of Manatee Avenue West and 43rd Street West. Reed said he would be in his silver Volkswagen.
At 4:18 p.m. March 6, detectives saw Reed in the car he had described and arrested him.
During a recorded interview, Reed confirmed he had responded to the ad, had spoken with who he thought was a 14-year-old and the phone from which text messages were exchanged was his phone number. Reed did not consent to detectives taking his computer, but did confirm he had sent the messages when shown copies of his conversation.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter@JDeLeon1012.