Originally Posted Online: Feb. 05, 2013, 7:17 pm
Last Updated: Feb. 05, 2013, 7:29 pm

RI man faces charges he tried to entice a minor

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By Rachel Warmke, rwarmke@qconline.com

A Rock Island man is scheduled to appear in federal court today on a charge of attempted enticement of a minor.

Robert W Blackard Jr., age unavailable, was indicted Friday in federal court. Police say he tried to convince an undercover agent, whom he thought was a 13-year-old boy, to have sleepovers with himself and a 14-year-old boy from Texas he allegedly planned to adopt.

In June, Mr. Blackard began corresponding with the undercover agent, who went by the name "Greg" and claimed to be in eighth grade, according to a criminal complaint filed in the Rock Island branch of the U.S. District Court for Central Illinois.

In Facebook conversations, Mr. Blackard indicated he was adopting a seventh-grader named "Randy" whose father, he said, allowed Mr. Blackard to share a bed with the teen, records state.

Police began investigating Mr. Blackard after the Rock island Police Department received an anonymous tip in June from someone concerned that the Rock Island man was sexually abusing "Randy," records indicate.

The criminal complaint states that, during his Facebook conversations, Mr. Blackard "consistently indicated that Randy was coming to Rock Island and that Greg should hang out with Randy and Blackard, such as by swimming together, playing video games together, eating pizza together, or sleeping over together at Blackard's apartment."

Mr. Blackard allegedly claimed he and "Randy" often wore only underwear at home and invited "Greg" to do the same, records said. The conversations became increasing sexual and, on Friday, Mr. Blackard agreed to pick up "Greg" at an area McDonald's.

Upon his arrival to the restaurant's parking lot, Mr. Blackard was arrested by police.