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Child Exploitation

ICE arrests Washington man charged with traveling to Tampa to have sex with child

TAMPA, Fla. - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents and Tampa International Airport Police Department officers arrested Michael Goddard, 51, of Bellingham, Wash., Wednesday for attempting to coerce a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct.

If convicted, Goddard faces a maximum penalty of life in federal prison. He appeared in U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Florida on Thursday.

The federal complaint against Goddard alleges that, in August 2010, Goddard began having conversations via email, online chat, and recorded telephone calls with an undercover ICE HSI special agent about wanting to have sex with the agent and her fictitious 12-year-old daughter.

Goddard eventually made plans with the undercover agent to travel to Tampa to have sex with the 12-year-old. He was arrested by ICE HSI special agents and airport officers when he arrived at Tampa International Airport Wednesday evening.

"ICE will continue to vigorously investigate child exploitation cases like this one, working in conjunction with our partner law enforcement agencies," said Susan McCormick, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Tampa.

The investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign-national predators whose crimes make them deportable. Launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 12,000 individuals through Operation Predator.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys' offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.