Robert Black, 49, of St. Croix, appeared before Magistrate Judge George Cannon in District Court on St. Thomas and pleaded guilty to charges of attempted coercion and enticement and failure to register as a sex offender.
Sentencing is set for Feb. 19, 2021.
According to court documents, Homeland Security Investigations initiated a law enforcement operation investigating online predators seeking to exploit Crucian children. Undercover agents working online created personas in online forums and applications designed to facilitate interactions between individuals. On Aug.12, 2019, the court records say, Black initiated contact with an undercover agent on the application Grindr by sending a picture of his naked torso and another of his genitals. A dialogue ensued during which the undercover agent stated that he was 14 years old. Later the defendant discussed the sexual activity that he wished to participate in with the undercover agent. A meeting was arranged for Aug. 16, 2019, at which time Black was arrested on the Christiansted boardwalk.
Black is a convicted sex offender from Missouri who failed to register locally when he moved to the Virgin Islands in 2018. In 2000, he was convicted in Missouri of second-degree statutory sodomy. As a result of this conviction, he was classified as a Tier 3 Offender who must register every 90 days for his life under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act. Black has a parole violation warrant from Missouri for a sex offender registration violation and has an outstanding parole violation warrant from Georgia on a charge of trafficking in methamphetamine.
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel H. Huston.