NC leader charged with child sex crimes; police say victims tried to report abuse for years

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Henry Thomas Black Jr. (Courtesy of WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – Chair of the Citizens Review Board Henry Thomas Black Jr. was arrested in Myrtle Beach on sexual assault charges involving children, police said Thursday morning. The victims have been trying to report the abuse for 22 years, police say, and finally got information into the right hands.

Black is accused of sexually assaulting two victims for over a 22-year span, between 1996 and 2018. Police say the sexual assaults began when the victims were children.

One of the victims, who is now an adult, reported Black to police on Sept. 3. The second victim was identified and said she was also assaulted by Black.

In a press conference Thursday morning, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said the victims previously told others they were sexually assaulted and those people did “nothing.” Some of the people were legally required to report the crimes.

“Twenty-two years they have been telling people this,” Deputy Chief Gerald Smith said. “It’s completely inexcusable.”

Smith said there would have been no miscommunication, as the victims’ description clearly depicted abuse.

“They were clear about what was happening to them for 22 years,” Smith said. “It just baffles the mind (that) nobody actually picked up the phone and dialed those three numbers; 9-1-1.″

Detectives obtained warrants for Black’s arrest following the report. He has been charged with multiple counts of statutory rape, statutory sex offense, indecent liberties with children, child abuse-sexual act, and incest.

Black was initially appointed to the Citizens Review Board on a partial term in November 2014. He was appointed to his first full term on the board in August 2015 and is currently in his second full term on the board.

According to the attorney for the Citizens Review Board, Black has been suspended as CRB chairman until this matter has been resolved. Vice Chairman Tonya Jameson will assume duties as chairman. The attorney says a background check was done on Black before he got on the board and it came back clean.

Black is also the co-founder of Genesis Project, a Family Wellness and Advocacy agency. According to the website for the Genesis Project, Black completed a six-year term on Charlotte’s Community Relation Committee, as well their Police sub-committee.

His agency reportedly served on the Executive Board of the Mecklenburg Provider Council and is also a premium level member of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce.

He is a graduate of West Charlotte Senior High School, Black World Barber College, and UNC Charlotte. Black reportedly has over 19 years of experience working with youth and families in both community and residential settings.

The Citizens Review Board was established June 9, 1997. The Board reviews appeals by citizens who file complaints on dispositions imposed by the Chief of Police or his designee relating to allegations of misconduct against a sworn police officer.

The Board also serves in an advisory role to the Chief of Police, the City Manager, and the City Council.

Black was booked early Thursday morning in Myrtle Beach and will be extradited back to Mecklenburg County to face the charges.

Smith asks any other potential victims to come forward. “I encourage you to please step up and give us a call.” Potential victims are asked to call detectives at 704-336-4466.

“Knowing these survivors have pushed and pushed and pushed, that’s superhuman,” Smith said. “They finally got this into the hands of law enforcement.”

Anyone with additional information may call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

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