Joshua Asseraf, a lifeguard who worked at Fort Lauderdale’s aquatic center, was arrested last week for allegedly planning to meet a 9-year-old girl at a hotel in Broward County for sex. Asseraf, 22, had not been aware that he was communicating with an undercover agent from the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force.
Asseraf has not yet been formally charged. He was arrested on allegations of using a cellphone to attempt to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity. U.S. Magistrate Judge Lurana Snow ordered him to be held without bond while his case is pending during a bond hearing last Friday. News sources did not specify an attorney for Asseraf.
According to court records, Asseraf was reportedly in communication with at least three people who wanted to let him have illegal sex with their children. One of the people he was purportedly talking to was an undercover FBI agent pretending to be the father of a fictitious 9-year-old daughter. The agent claims Asseraf was enthusiastic about the idea of having sex with his fake underage daughter and even asked him to film the encounter.
During the course of their communication, Asseraf allegedly sent the FBI agent two pictures of young teen girls aged 11 and 12 who he had reportedly had sex with in the past. Asseraf and the agent eventually agreed to meet at an unnamed hotel in Broward County, and that was where Asseraf was arrested. He allegedly brought two stuffed animals with him as a gift for his victim.
After his arrest, Asseraf reportedly consented to having his phone searched. Investigators claim to have found several messages he sent to what they believe are real people, making arrangements to have sex with minors. Asseraf later rescinded his permission, but a judge ruled that investigators had legally obtained the evidence before he withdrew his permission.
Asseraf is a French national and it is unclear if he is legally allowed to work in the U.S., but he was a lifeguard at the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale. Chaz Adams, a spokesman for the aquatic center, told news sources that Asseraf had worked as a part-time pool lifeguard since March this year and his employment was officially terminated.