According to federal court documents, 39-year-old Jonathan Mark Herbert, then an associate geography professor at Jacksonville State University, posted an advertisement for sex on a public website on Aug. 17, 2012. A criminal complaint says that when an undercover police officer posing as a 14-year-old girl sent a text message to Herbert responding to the ad, Herbert asked for pornographic photos and requested they meet for sex.
According to a sentencing memorandum, Herbert drove to a Birmingham shopping center where he planned to meet the teenager, and police arrested him there.
According to a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama, Herbert pleaded guilty in January to one count of attempting to receive child pornography. U.S. Marshals took him into custody following today's hearing.
U.S. District Judge L. Scott Coogler today ordered Herbert to serve 10 years of supervised probation following his five years in prison, the release said. Herbert must also register as a sex offender.
JSU spokeswoman Angie Finley emailed the following statement from the university’s legal department:
“On August 22, 2012, JSU officials were notified of the arrest of then assistant professor Jonathan Herbert. The offense for which Dr. Herbert was charged was in no way connected to the University or its students. Upon verifying Herbert's arrest, he was suspended and shortly thereafter was terminated. The University cooperated with federal authorities in their investigation and has had no involvement in the matter since that investigation ended.”
According to a JSU bulletin published in August of 2012, Herbert began work at JSU in 2005.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations and the Alabama Department of Public Safety’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joe Montminy and Daniel Fortune were the prosecutors.
Assistant Metro Editor Daniel Gaddy: 256-235-3560. On Twitter @DGaddy_Star.