Radio DJ arrested on St. Croix, charged in child sex sting dies awaiting trial in N.J.


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ST. CROIX - A well-known retired New York radio personality charged last year in a federal sting operation to transport a 7-year-old girl to St. Croix to have sex with her has died while awaiting trial in New Jersey.

Defense attorney Marc Agnifilo said David Herman died Thursday at University Hospital in Newark, N.J., after being rushed to the hospital late Wednesday from the county jail after complaining of chest pains, according to The Associated Press.

Herman was a pioneer in rock and roll music and ruled the airwaves for most of the last 40 years.

Last October, he made his initial court appearance before Magistrate George Cannon charged with a single count of attempting to transport a minor in interstate commerce with the intent that the minor engage in illegal sexual activity.

Herman waived his right to transfer and identity hearings and voluntarily went back to New Jersey - where the case was filed - to face the charges.

His attorney, Federal Public Defender Gabrielle Villegas, advised the court that at 77, Herman had 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.

The case

Herman was caught in a police sting operation, and no actual 7-year-old girl was involved.

Herman was arrested Oct. 23, 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 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.

After returning to New Jersey, Herman remained in custody without bail and on Feb. 18 a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging him with the crime.

A week ago, New Jersey District Judge Faith Hochberg ordered that his jury selection and trial be scheduled for July.

Herman faced being imprisoned for the rest of his natural life and also could have been made to pay a maximum fine of $250,000 if he was convicted.

As of Thursday evening, his official cause of death was not known.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email fstokes@dailynews.vi.

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