Sean Rickard, Anaheim, California man sentenced to only 16 months jail after admitting to having sex with a 12 year old girl he met on Tinder.
Sean Rickard, of Anaheim, on Wednesday pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor three years younger than the perpetrator, even though the victim was actually nine years his junior at the time of the incident.
During their initial interactions on the dating app, Rickard said the girl told him she was 19 years old.
As part of Rickard’s plea agreement, prosecutors dropped 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, NBC Bay Area reported.
Officers from Santa Ana Police Department responded on February 27 to a charter school where the 12-year-old student was reported to have been sexually assaulted by a man.
The victim told police she had posed as a 19-year-old woman on Tinder, where she first met Rickard last year.
The victim and Rickard had exchanged messages for eight months via social media before she revealed her true age in February. That nevertheless did nothing to deter the man the LATimes.com reported.
Suspect continues to see victim despite being told she is only 12 years old:
According to police, the 12-year-old girl skipped school on February 25 and was picked up by Rickard, who then took her to a parking lot in Santa Ana and sexually assaulted her.
Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said at the time that they learned of the assault thanks to one of the victim’s schoolmates, who saw the girl with Rickard, snapped a photo of the pair and showed it to her parents, who then contacted the authorities.
After learning that Rickard communicated with the victim through Snapchat, detectives posed as the victim and began talking to him.
Rickard believed he was talking to the 12-year-old girl and sent her video of himself ‘pleasuring himself’, according to police.
He also agreed to meet the girl later that evening to have sex again.
Detectives set up a sting operation and waited for Rickard as he parked behind a store in Anaheim. As soon as he got out of his car, he was arrested.
An exercise in deniable plausibility?
During an interview with police, the 22-year-old admitted to knowing the victim was 12 years old and to picking her up from school for sex.
Not immediately clear is why Rickard continued seeing his victim upon being told she was underage, while others on social media wondered if it hadn’t been markedly apparent the girl he’d met purporting to be 19 was much younger than what she claimed – but for Rickard to only exercise deniable plausibility. A state of affairs some wondered the court exercised when only sentencing Rickard to only 16 months jail …</span