A 49-year-old sex offender has admitted to using the internet in an attempt to lure children, including one 14-year-old who was actually a federal agent conducting an online sting operation, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court.
Robert Black of St. Croix pleaded guilty during a hearing before Magistrate Judge George Cannon on Wednesday to attempted coercion and enticement, and failure to register as a sex offender. Sentencing is set for Feb. 19 before Chief Judge Wilma Lewis.
Black’s arrest came after undercover agents with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations conducted a sting operation targeting adults looking for sex with children, according to court documents.
The agents created fake online profiles and Black sent one of them, 14-year-old “DJ,” photos of his naked torso and genitals on Aug. 15, 2019, according to the affidavit for Black’s arrest. Black said he was 33 and told “DJ” that “I prefer” sex with young boys.
Black described various sexual activities he wanted, and arranged a meeting with “DJ” the following day on the Christiansted Boardwalk, where federal agents took him into custody, according to the affidavit. Investigators found that Black is a registered sex offender in Missouri with an outstanding parole violation warrant from Georgia.
In 2000, Black was convicted in Kansas City, Mo., of second-degree statutory sodomy. He was 28 years old at the time and his victim was a 15-year-old boy, according to the sex offender registry.
He has used various aliases, including “Ken Brown,” “Robert Brown,” and “Derek Hall,” according to the registry.
The website does not list his sentence, but says he was released from prison on Feb. 17, 2003.
He is classified as a Tier 3 sex offender, the most serious classification under Missouri law, and is required to remain on the sex offender registry for life.
Tier 3 offenders are also required to check in with Missouri law enforcement in person every 90 days.
U.S. Attorney for the Virgin Islands Gretchen Shappert said in a news release Wednesday that Black moved to the Virgin Islands in 2018 and failed to register as a sex offender in the territory.
“Black has a parole violation warrant from Missouri for a sex offender registration violation and has an outstanding trafficking in methamphetamine parole violation warrant from George,” according to the news release.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Huston.