Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Registered Sex Offender Detained on Solicitation, Child Pornography Charges

 PROVIDENCE – A registered sex offender previously convicted in Rhode Island state court for indecent solicitation of a child was arraigned today on new federal charges of enticement of a minor to engage in sexual conduct, and possessing and distributing child pornography.

According to court documents, in January 2020, members of the Rhode Island State Police Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force received information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that an individual uploaded an image of child pornography from an IP address in Rhode Island. An investigation by members of the ICAC determined that the IP address belonged to an Internet subscriber in West Warwick.

Further investigation by members of the ICAC determined that Robert H. King, 35, of Cranston, who was staying with a friend in West Warwick, allegedly sent several messages on social media platforms, contacting juveniles and sending them sexual messages. Among the alleged online conversations was a sexually explicit conversation King had with a girl who allegedly informed him that she was twelve years old. It is alleged that King solicited the pre-teen to engage in sexual activity.

On March 26, 2020, members of the ICAC Task Force executed a court-authorized search of the West Warwick residence where King was staying and took possession of his cell phone. A forensic audit of King’s cell phone allegedly revealed approximately 135 images of child pornography.

King, charged previously in Rhode Island state court in this matter, appeared today before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond and was ordered detained in federal custody on a federal criminal complaint charging him with coercion/enticement of a minor to engage in sexual conduct, possession of child pornography, and distribution of child pornography, announced United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman, Rhode Island State Police Superintendent Colonel James M. Manni, and Homeland Security Investigations Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael S. Shea.

A federal criminal complaint is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald R. Gendron.

United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman thanks the Rhode Island Department of the Attorney General for their assistance in the preparation of this matter for prosecution in federal court.

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