DJ arrested in sting after police said he flew to St. Croix to have sex with 7-year-old girl
Published: October 26, 2013
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ST. CROIX - A well-known retired New York radio personality was charged in a federal sting operation with trying to transport a 7-year-old girl to St. Croix to have sex with her.
David Herman, a former New York disc jockey who ruled the airwaves for most of the last 40 years, made his initial appearance in federal magistrate court Friday afternoon to be advised of his rights on a single count of attempting to transport a minor in interstate commerce with the intent that the minor engage in illegal sexual activity.
Herman, 77, was caught in a police sting operation, and no actual 7-year-old girl was involved.
Herman, who has a vacation home on St. Croix and a home in Airmont, N.Y., walked into the courtroom escorted by two deputy U.S. marshals. He was dressed in a red Bureau of Corrections two-piece outfit, and his hands and feet were chained to restrict his movement.
Herman faced District Magistrate Judge George Cannon with his head slightly lowered, and after taking a seat next to Federal Public Defender Gabriel Villegas, he looked around the courtroom where about a dozen people sat, including reporters, social workers, employees of the U.S. Attorney's Office and Attorney Generals Office along with several federal law enforcement officers.
Three of Herman's friends who live on the island also were in the courtroom, perched on the edge of their seats, hoping to catch every detail of the court hearing.
Before advising him that a federal public defender had been appointed to handle the proceedings for the day, Cannon asked Herman whether he was able to afford an attorney to handle the matter.
"I can afford one, but I do not have one," he answered in a voice known by millions.
Herman was arrested Thursday afternoon just as he arrived at Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix, where federal authorities said he had expected to meet the girl and her mother flying in from New York.
According to police reports, Herman had been in communications with a special agent who he thought was a 36-year-old single mother with a young daughter, but he actually was talking to an undercover officer from Bergen County, N.J., according to court documents.
In multiple telephone calls and online correspondences with the woman, he tried to arrange illegal sexual encounters with her 7-year-old daughter in New York and Bergen County, according to court documents. He later told the woman that he would fly them both to St. Croix so he could engage in sexual activity with the child there, prosecutors charge.
On Sept. 30, Herman purchased airline tickets for the woman and her fictitious child to fly from La Guardia airport to St. Croix. Prosecutors said when he arrived at the airport Thursday to pick up the woman and child, he was met by special agents of U.S. Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who arrested him there.
Cannon advised Herman of his rights on being transferred to New Jersey, where the case has been filed and where further prosecution will take place.
Cannon said Herman had the right to a removal hearing, an identity hearing, a preliminary hearing and a detention hearing, after Assistant U.S. Attorney Alphonso Andrews advised the court that the prosecution is moving to have Herman detained while the case is pending.
Herman, who had been attentive but showed no reaction during the hearing, perked up and turned to his attorney.
"They're going to detain me? They're moving for detention," he asked in an audible whispering voice.
After consulting for about 30 minutes with Herman while the court took a recess, Villegas advised Cannon that Herman will waive his right to the transfer and identity hearings and will voluntarily go back to New Jersey to face the charges.
However, Herman said he will reserve the right to have the preliminary hearing and detention hearing take place once he is in New Jersey.
Villegas advised the court that at 77, Herman has a number of health and medication concerns that need to be taken care of, and he may need assistance from the court to ensure the needs are met.
Cannon acknowledged the concerns and advised Herman that he was orally ordering his transfer, pending the filing of the official documents. Cannon said once Herman is in New Jersey, he will have to find his own attorney or a new attorney will be appointed by the court if Herman qualifies.
As court adjourned for the day, Herman turned to walk back out of the courtroom.
One of his friends made a fist and placed it over his heart and nodded to Herman - and Herman returned the gesture.
"I love you both," he said to the couple, before bursting into tears and burying his face in a small stack of legal papers he had been holding.
Herman was led away from the courtroom by deputy marshals at that point.
Herman could be imprisoned for the rest of his natural life and also made to pay a maximum fine of $250,000 if he is convicted.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.