Accused of trying to arrange a hookup with a 7-year-old boy and revealing child pornography in the process, a 37-year-old Cheyenne man faces up to 30 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.
A federal prosecutor has charged Robert Loren Blanton, 37, on Thursday with one count of child pornography distribution, which is punishable by a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 20, plus fines; and with one count of child pornography possession, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fines.
Evidence in this case started accumulating June 27, when an FBI agent was chatting undercover on the hookup application Grindr, according to an evidentiary affidavit filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for Wyoming.
No Age Limits
A user named Rn ASAP messaged the undercover agent, saying “How taboo” in response to the agent’s Grindr profile referencing the word “taboo.”
The undercover employee asked Rn ASAP if the user had Telegram or Kik, and Rn ASAP started chatting with the undercover employee onto Telegram, an encrypted messaging application.
The subject’s username on Telegram was “Joe Weaver,” says the affidavit.
“Is this Rn ASAP?” asked the agent.
“Yeah,” answered the “Joe Weaver” account.
The agent asked the user if he had age limits.
“Nope,” answered the user, who then sent a photo of a female child, prepubescent with her genitalia exposed, the affidavit says.
The user sent three more images of child pornography, the document adds, all of prepubescent girls exposing their genitalia.
Arranged To Meet
“Joe Weaver” reportedly talked to the undercover agent about meeting at a local hotel to have sex acts with a 7-year-old boy.
The user said he was in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and he told what street he lived on, the affidavit says.
The affidavit also says that the user expressed a desire to have the 7-year-old boy perform oral sex on him.
“I haven’t done anything with a young person for a long time,” the user said, allegedly. “How willing is he?”
The user then said, “I really want to but just have to be careful,” the affidavit relates. “It’s been 20 years since my last young one.”
The user then stopped responding, after that message.
FBI Special Agent Nicole Jones served a search warrant on the “Rn ASAP” Grindr account and extracted its email address, email@example.com, the affidavit says.
Jones noted that Blanton’s last known street address was on the same street “Joe Weaver” had given to the undercover agent during their chats.
“Additionally, (the user had) provided his latitude and longitude to several Grindr users in chats,” says the affidavit. “These resolve to the same address.”
The user had referenced his preferences for “taboo” pornographic material multiple times with other users, the affidavit alleges. At one point he said he preferred people age ranged 8-18, and claimed he’d had some sexual experience with a 9-year-old child, says the document.
The affidavit says another time, the user said that, “Anything 12+ is good but younger is good I see we speak the same language,” then went on to say he’d performed oral sex on a 13-year-old boy.
“I like daddy son or daughter,” the user allegedly said when describing the kind of pornography he prefers.
Now The Search
A search warrant for the email address associated with the Grindr account revealed subscriber and billing information linking the account to Robert Loren Blanton of Cheyenne. His search history included phrases like “little girls panties” and “thongs for toddlers,” the affidavit claims.
Agents fulfilled search warrants Wednesday on Blanton’s person, home and vehicle.
“During a Mirandized interview, Blanton admitted to using his cellular telephone and multiple social networking/mobile messaging applications to access child pornography,” says the affidavit. “Blanton told agents he had child pornography on his cellphone currently.”
Agents took his iPhone and found an image of an “early pubescent” female performing oral sex on an adult male, the document says.
Blanton allegedly admitted to being the owner of both the Grindr account and the Telegram account, and of distributing child pornography during that conversation.
Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.