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Press Release

St. Louis County Man Sentenced to 5+ Years in Prison For Soliciting Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri

ST. LOUIS – U.S. District Judge U.S. District Ronnie L. White on Wednesday sentenced a man from St. Louis County, Missouri who sought nude pictures from an undercover police officer to five years and three months in prison.

Robert L. Payne, 77, will also be on supervised release for life after he gets out of prison and has been banned from parks, playgrounds and other places where children gather.

Payne had repeatedly been watching and trying to talk to boys at Fenton City Park, 1215 Larkin Williams Road. St. Louis County police responded to complaints about Payne, and spotted Payne at the park each day between March 1 and 4, 2021.  On March 2nd, Payne moved his vehicle in the park about eighteen times, including backing into a space to allow him to watch the Lindbergh High School boys’ lacrosse team practice. On March 3, Payne tried to talk to about 10 to 12 young males near the basketball courts.

On March 8, 2021, a police officer pretending to be a 16-year-old played basketball at the park and then used a trashcan near Payne, who was sitting in his parked red 2003 Ford Ranger.  Payne began talking to the officer, offered to perform oral sex on him and gave the officer his contact information.

Payne later contacted the officer and repeatedly offered to engage in sex acts with him before requesting a picture of the purported teen’s genitals.

Payne pleaded guilty in August to a felony charge of solicitation of child pornography.

In 2018, the Sunset Hills Police Department investigated Payne over allegations that he’d approached a 16-year-old male at Minnie Ha Ha Park and offered to perform oral sex on him. Payne later pleaded guilty to a harassment charge and was ordered to stay away from the park.

The case was investigated by the St. Louis County Police Department and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jillian Anderson is prosecuting the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

Updated November 30, 2022

Topics
Project Safe Childhood