New details in child for sale case

August 24, 2008 12:49:04 PM PDT
A San Antonio couple accused of trying to sell the woman's 5-year-old daughter for sex also planned to include her 10-month-old daughter in the deal, then to blackmail the informant with whom they had been in contact, court testimony revealed this week. Jennifer Richards, 25, and her married boyfriend, Sean Michael Block, 40, appeared before a federal magistrate Friday. U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Stein Nowak ordered Block held. Richards' detention hearing was delayed until Tuesday, the San Antonio Express-News reported Sunday.

Rex Miller, the FBI's lead agent on the case, testified Friday that the two had hoped to blackmail an informant for a deal that included a two-bedroom apartment that would be the site of the rape, and child care for the 10-month-old, who "eventually" would be raped herself.

Based on an interview with Block, in which Miller said he made incriminating statements, a review of the computers the two used, and surreptitiously taped conversations, Miller said he discovered the two were making further plans to abduct, rape and "carve up" a teenage runaway.

Miller said Block first drew the attention of authorities as early as 2004 and again was on the radar of a Los Angeles undercover investigation in 2006, but that there were not enough evidence to act until earlier this month.

Authorities said both children are no longer in Richards' custody and that neither child was sold for sex.

Richards is charged with using interstate facilities to transmit information about a minor. Block is charged with distributing child pornography.

According to an affidavit unsealed Wednesday, an informant told the FBI about a text message allegedly sent by Block reading: "Nice piece 5 yrs old belongs to my gf and she wants to sell it."

Richards "was of the belief that these sexual interactions would be a positive experience for (her daughter) and that Richards would receive sexual gratification" from watching, according to the affidavit.

Block allegedly sent an e-mail with a link to a Russian child pornography site.

Ronald Guyer, Block's lawyer, acknowledged how serious the charges appear. But Guyer told the judge that there was no evidence that the behavior progressed beyond Block's fantasy.

"There has been no action on his part," Guyer told Nowak.

The couple both worked at the Cheesecake Factory at North Star Mall, where he was a bartender and she was a waitress.

Court records show that Block's now-estranged wife Sarah Block filed for a protective order earlier this week on behalf of the couple's 14-month-old child. Her lawyer said she filed for divorce Friday.

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