Delaware State Police have arrested a man who they say inappropriately touched a 9-year-old girl he helped on and off a horse for a pony ride.
The girl was at Fifer Orchards near Dover with her mother on Oct. 29, where John Blackburn, a high-risk sex offender was working with another group, Angels Gather Here Pony Rides, according to a statement by police.
Troopers say the child took a pony ride.
Breaking news and the stories that matter to your neighborhood.
After the ride, another woman told the child's mother that the man who helped the girl on and off the pony had inappropriately touched the child, investigators said. Fifer Orchards called police after the child's mother contacted one of their represenatives as well as the pony ride company.
"The mother brought me a picture of him doing it," said Rod Crowson, who owns the pony ride business. Crowson said he confronted Blackburn with the picture and fired him on the spot.
Authorities arrested 33-year-old Blackburn of Houston, Delaware, who is a Tier III or high-risk sex offender, according to police. He was convicted in 2002 of unlawful sexual intercourse with a victim under the age of 12.
Crowson said he normally does background checks on workers before he hires them, but did not run a background check on Blackburn because he was recommended by a "very good friend, very reliable" at a time Crowson was short of help.
Blackburn worked for Angels Gather Here Pony Rides from Oct. 2 through Oct. 29, Crowson said, adding that he runs a legitimate business.
"Children come to ride who are special needs and we don't even charge them." The backlash from this incident has been awful for his family, Crowson said.
"People have threatened to shoot my grandkids."
Blackburn is charged with unlawful sexual contact with a child and failure to re-register as a sex offender.