Felony charges were filed on Friday against a 21-year-old Anaheim man accused of sexually assaulting a 12 year-old girl he met through a dating app.
Sean Michael Rickard is charged with three counts of lewd acts with a minor younger than 14 and one count each of distributing pornography to a minor with the intent to engage in sexual conduct and luring a child with the intent to commit a specified crime.
Rickard, who’s being held on $100,000 bail, is scheduled to be arraigned sometime on Friday in the Santa Ana jail courtroom.
A charter school student in Santa Ana, California, saw the alleged victim get into a car with an adult man Wednesday and snapped a photo that she showed her mother, Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said.
“She told her mom she thought it was weird, so the mom did the right thing and contacted the school and the school did the right thing and contacted us,” Bertagna said.
Police determined who the girl was and began investigating Rickard, Bertagna said.
The two met through the Tinder app about eight months ago, when she claimed to be 19 years old, he said.
A few weeks ago, before they would meet in person, she confided that she was 12 “and he (said he) didn’t care,” Bertagna alleged.
On Wednesday, Rickard allegedly drove the girl to a parking lot in Santa Ana, where they engaged in a sex act, Bertagna said.
After police began investigating Rickard, they communicated with the suspect through the girl’s phone, pretending to be the alleged victim, Bertagna said. Rickard sent a video of himself masturbating, and when he agreed to a meeting, the officers were there to arrest him, Bertagna said.