St. Thomas, USVI – Robert Black, 49, of St. Croix, appeared before Magistrate Judge George W. Cannon in District Court and entered a guilty plea to the charges of Attempted Coercion and Enticement and Failure to Register as a Sex Offender. Sentencing is set for February 19, 2021.
According to court documents, Homeland Security Investigations initiated a law enforcement operation investigating online predators seeking to exploit children in St. Croix. Agents working online in an undercover capacity created personas in online forums and applications designed to facilitate interactions between individuals. On August 12, 2019, 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 ensured 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 meet was arranged for August 16, 2019, at which time Black was arrested on the Boardwalk in Christiansted.
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 Statutory Sodomy in the 2nd degree. As a result of this conviction, he was classified as a Tier 3 Offender who must register every 90 days for his lifetime 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 trafficking in methamphetamine parole violation warrant from Georgia.
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel H. Huston.