NEWARK, N.J. – A retired New York radio personality was indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday for attempting to transport a 7-year-old girl from Bergen County to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands to sexually abuse the girl. The indictment follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Newark, HSI San Juan and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office.
David Herman, 78, of Airmont, N.Y., and St. Croix, was arrested in October 2013 by HSI special agents at the St. Croix airport where he expected to meet the child. He was indicted Tuesday on one felony count of attempting to transport a minor to engage in sexual activity.
"This case shows anyone who attempts to exploit a child can and will be held accountable for their criminal actions regardless of where in the world the investigation leads or how much time has passed," said Andrew McLees, special agent in charge of HSI Newark. "Sexual abuse scars children for life and HSI will continue to do all it can to identify the perpetrators of these horrendous acts and seek justice on behalf of their victims."
According to court documents, beginning in November 2012, Herman initiated a series of chats on a website with an undercover officer from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office. Herman believed he was communicating with a 36-year-old single mother of a 6-year-old daughter.
Over the course of the following months, Herman had multiple telephone and online communications with the officer during which he indicated his desire to engage in sexual activity with the officer’s fictitious daughter. Herman also attempted to arrange illegal sexual encounters with the child in New York state and Bergen County.
In early 2013, Herman told the undercover officer that he would like to fly the pair to St. Croix so he could engage in sexual activity with the daughter. On Sept. 30 2013, Herman purchased airline tickets for them to fly from LaGuardia Airport to St. Croix.
If convicted, Herman faces between 10 years and life in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.