At least three young boys were propositioned for sex in downtown Richmond in exchange for a substantial amount of money, Richmond Police said Thursday.

Herbert Hager, 31, of the 300 block of High Street, Richmond, is charged with three counts of having a first-degree unlawful transaction with a minor. Richmond Police arrested Hager on Wednesday after a three-week investigation, which began with a middle school student telling a teacher about his encounter, said RPD Sgt. Willard Reardon, public affairs officer for the department.

The first encounter occurred about 7:30 a.m. in the Madison Avenue area when the male student was walking to school, Reardon said.

“He started out asking them questions like, ‘What’s your name?’ ‘Where are you going?’ and ‘How old are you?’ — inappropriate actions that adults should not be doing to kids,” Reardon said.

Hager allegedly continued to talk to the students, offering them what Reardon referred to as a “substantial amount of money” in return for sexual favors. Reardon would not disclose how much money was offered or details about the requests for sex. No money was exchanged and no sexual activities took place.

“They were approached, they kept on walking and obviously when they got to school they let a teacher know and the school contacted me,” Reardon said.

Police have confirmed that Hager allegedly approached three males, all under the age of 16. Investigators suspect there may have been more than three boys approached and more charges could be filed. Reardon could not identify what additional charges could be pending.

“Hager also had approached other young boys in the area and, although not asking specifically for sexual favors, implied that he wanted sexual favors,” an RPD press release states.

None of the boys knew Hager prior to the incidents, Reardon said, but with physical evidence were able to identify him as the man who allegedly approached them. Because of a previous criminal record, Reardon said the department was “very familiar” with Hager.

Last week on Eastern Kentucky University’s campus, a 12-year-old was approached by a man who offered him cigarettes and drugs if he would talk to him for 30 minutes, an EKU alert said previously.

Reardon said he does not have information linking the two incidents, but did say the department has been in communication with the EKU police to determine if Hager may have been connected to that incident.

RPD investigators need help from the public to identify if there were more children approached in this manner, Reardon said.

“What we’re really hoping for is that if there are other people out there who were approached, they will come forward,” Reardon said. “This is the kind of case that the more you have, the more ammunition you have when you go to court. As much evidence as we can get from the public would be of great help to us.

Anyone with additional information should call RPD Detective Eric Long at 623-1162 or 623-8911.

Hager is lodged in the Madison County Detention Center on a $10,000 cash bond.

Kelly Foreman can be reached at kforeman@richmondregister.com or 624-6694.

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