ANAHEIM, Calif. (FOX 11) - An Anaheim man was arrested by police on Feb. 27, accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl.
Santa Ana police say 21-year-old Sean Rickard and the victim met on the Tinder dating app where the victim pretended to be 19 years old. After talking for about eight months, the victim revealed to Rickard she was in fact 12 years old, according to police.
Investigators say the victim did not go to school on Monday and was picked up by Rickard and taken to a parking lot in Santa Ana where he sexually assaulted her. Detectives with the Santa Ana Police Special Crimes detectives posed as the victim on Snapchat to communicate with Rickard after learning the two would chat through the popular social media platform.
"Rickard believed he was communicating with the victim and sent a video of himself masturbating. He also agreed to meet the victim later that evening for the purposes of engaging in sexual activity," said a statement from Santa Ana Police Department.
Detectives set up a sting operation and arrested Rickard near a clothing store in Anaheim.
"Rickard admitted to knowing the victim was 12-years-old and to picking her up from school and engaging in sex acts. Rickard also admitted to driving to the clothing store in order to meet the victim for the purposes of engaging in sex acts," said the police statement.
Rickard was booked into Orange County Jail on multiple counts of child abuse. His bail was set at $100,000.
Investigators believe there may be other victims and are asking anyone with information on this case to call Detective Nick Vega at 714-245-8368 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Santa Ana Police Department reminds parents to closely monitor their child's social media activity for any inappropriate content.