NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A lieutenant commander with the U.S. Navy appeared in a Norfolk federal court after investigators say he tried to meet with somebody he thought was a 14-year-old girl.

33-year-old Christopher Paul Hetherington was arrested and taken into custody on December 21. Hetherington is stationed as a weapons officer on the USS Ross, which is homeported in Norfolk.

Hetherington was charged with attempted coercion and enticement of a minor and attempted production of child pornography.

The charges stem from an undercover online child exploitation operation conducted by NCIS, with participation from Norfolk Police and Homeland Security Investigations, targeting individuals engaged in the sexual online enticement of minors.

During the operation, an NCIS special agent posed as a 14-year-old high schooler on social media. As the two exchanged messages, Hetherington asked to meet in person and sent messages with explicit language.

A viewer sent a picture to 10 On Your Side of when federal agents arrested Hetherington on December 21.

Hetherington is currently being held at Western Tidewater Regional Jail. His preliminary hearing has been continued for January 10.

He’s due back in Norfolk federal court for a preliminary hearing on January 10 after the original hearing on December 27 was continued so Hetherington could hire private counsel.