By David Jones
NEWARK, New Jersey (Reuters) - Retired rock radio disc jockey Dave Herman was ordered to remain in federal custody on Wednesday on charges he attempted to transport a 7-year-old girl to the U.S. Virgin Islands from New Jersey to engage in sexual activity.
Herman, 77, was arrested at the St. Croix airport on October 24, where prosecutors say he was expecting to meet the girl.
He is charged with attempting to transport a minor for sexual activity, which carries a 10-year minimum prison sentence and the possibility of life imprisonment.
Authorities claim that Herman, 77, engaged in a series of online chats, beginning a year ago, with an undercover officer from the Bergen County, New Jersey, prosecutors office whom he thought was a 36-year-old woman with a young daughter.
They say he tried to set up sexual encounters in New York and in New Jersey and in September bought airline tickets to St. Croix for the woman and child. The child was in fact fictitious.
The slight, balding former radio personality was shackled and handcuffed at his appearance in U.S. District Court in Newark, N.J. He was a well-known radio disc jockey in the New York area on WNEW-FM beginning in the 1970s.
He broke down in tears briefly when he saw a family member, who also was crying, in the courtroom.
Prosecutors said he was a "danger to the community" who posed a "risk of flight," and U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Judge Falk ordered him held in without bail.
However, the judge said he would allow Herman's defense attorneys to put together a proposed bail package.
Defense attorney Marc Agnifilo said Herman has no criminal record and said there have been no other allegations of abuse against him.
"I think that evidence in total is going to show that Herman was interested in the mother, and the mother was introducing the concept of the daughter as part of the undercover scenario," the attorney told reporters after the hearing.
Herman is from Airmont, N.Y. and has a home in St. Croix, prosecutors said.
(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Gunna Dickson)