Federal program targets online child predators
A former member of the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra who guest conducted part of a concert two years ago has been accused of various child sex crimes following a sting operation in Utah.
Logan Blackman, who led UK’s orchestra in a performance of his original work in 2017, faces a dozen felony charges. He has been released from Salt Lake County jail since his arrest late last month.
Blackman graduated from UK in May 2018 and earned his master’s degree in August 2018.
Sgt. Bart Smith of the Lehi (Utah) Police Department said Blackman’s arrest stemmed from an Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force operation. Officers were posing as young children online, and Blackman allegedly contacted one undercover officer thinking the officer was a young child, Smith said.
The conversation quickly turned sexual and Blackman sent pictures of his genitals to the undercover officer, who was posing as a 13-year-old boy, according to Smith.
When Blackman was told the age of the person he thought he was talking to, his response was “that’s honestly really hot lol,” according to Utah TV station ABC 4., which reported from court documents.
Blackman allegedly tried to meet the boy at an apartment complex in Salt Lake City, at which point a Lehi officer arrested him, Smith said. Lehi borders Salt Lake City and the officer was a part of the undercover task force, according to Smith.
Officers asked Blackman if he had ever talked to a juvenile sexually before, and he said he had not, Smith said. In a search of his phone, police found Blackman had been texting a 16-year-old boy the previous day and had arranged to meet him for sex, police said.
Blackman told officers he jokingly told the boy they should have a threesome with an elementary school child, Smith said.
A text he sent the teenager stated “there’s an elementary school across the street, we should do something sexual with that,” ABC 4 reported from court documents.
Blackman was charged with three counts of second-degree enticing a minor over the internet, six counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and three third-degree counts of dealing in materials harmful to a minor.
Smith said Blackman posted bail at the Salt Lake jail.
A University of Utah faculty profile lists Blackman as a teacher in an Ensemble Conducting course.
Chris Nelson, a spokesperson for the University of Utah, said Blackman is a former teaching assistant and a doctor of musical arts candidate.
“The university takes these types of issues very seriously and will continue to evaluate the circumstances in this case as they unfold, with particular regard to making any decisions about Logan’s future employment and student status with the university,” Nelson said in a statement.
Blackman studied bassoon performance while at UK, he told the Herald-Leader in 2017. He directed the UK orchestra in a performance of his piece “Prayer of a Broken Heart.”