CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Henry Black, Chair of the Citizens Review Board in Charlotte overseeing police accountability, has been arrested for alleged sexual assault of two people, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said. Investigators are trying to determine if there are additional victims.
One of the victims, who is now an adult, reported she was sexually assaulted by 49-year-old Henry Thomas Black Jr, police said. On September 3, police began an investigation that later identified a second victim, who is also now an adult.
Police said the sexual assaults began when the victims were children and continued over a 22-year span between 1996 and 2018.
"When it started, these survivors were very young," Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department Deputy Chief Gerald Smith said.
Black was arrested Thursday morning in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He has been charged with two count of statutory sex offense, three counts of statutory sex offense, 14 counts of indecent liberties with children, two counts of child abuse-sexual act, and 4 counts of incest.
In a news conference Thursday morning, police said the victims previously told others about the assaults. Those individuals had a legal obligation to report the allegations to law enforcement but those actions were not taken, police said.
"There were time these survivors - and I call them survivors and not victims - that they actually had the courage to approach adults; people who were in positions to report," Deputy Chief Gerald Smith said. "They actually approached adults to tell them this abuse was taking place and those people did nothing."
Police said they are working to locate those individuals in order to interview them.
"This over 22 years did not get into the hands of law enforcement until September 3," Smith said. "Anyone who was told should have called police. But there are those that had a [legal] duty to report."
Detectives are trying to determine if there are additional victims. They are asking anyone who may have been assaulted by Black to call Detective Lori O’Dell at 704-336-4466. Others with tips are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.
"Our detectives have a great deal of experience," Smith explained. "And in this case, it gave them pause. It did. The details gave them pause."
The victims in this case will not be publicly identified by either CMPD or WCNC NBC Charlotte.
During the news conference Thursday, Deputy Chief Smith addresses the charged of incest.
"I know some of started to surmise who the victims could be," Smith said. "We are taking about incest in a stationary manner. Not what most people would think of. It is a relationship based statute."
He went on to explain the charge can be applied to a variety of familial and guardianship-like relationships.
CMPD detectives are currently working to extradite Black back to North Carolina and into the custody of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office.
The Citizens Review Board was established in 1997 and "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 city manager has appointment authority for the board's chair.
Black has been a member of the board in various capacities since 2014. His online biography also identifies him as the co-founder of the Genesis Project 1, which describes itself as a family wellness and advocacy agency.
The Citizens Review Board was recently involved in the Mecklenburg County district attorney's decision to have state authorities investigate deadly shootings involving Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officers.
In 2017, the Citizens Review Board held a closed-door hearing on the shooting death of Keith Scott. At the time, the Board determined there was "sufficient evidence of error" in how the police investigated and later justified the shooting.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call 704-336-4466 and speak directly to Detective O’Dell. Detective O’Dell is the lead detective assigned to the case. The public can also leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or visiting their website at http://charlottecrimestoppers.com/.