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July 10, 2017Seattle, United StatesChild Exploitation

Registered sex offender receives 12 years for soliciting sex with minor on Craigslist

SEATTLE – A previously-convicted child sex offender was sentenced Monday to 12 years in prison followed by 20 years’ supervised released for attempted enticement of an individual he believed was a 5-year-old girl.

Todd Darren Rickdal, 50, of Seattle, first came to the attention of special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) after he responded to a Seattle Police Department Craigslist ad during a 2016 sting operation. According to court records, Rickdal communicated via email, text and phone with an undercover agent who posted an ad in Craigslist’s “Casual Encounters” section referencing “family fun.” He believed he was making arrangements to have sex with the undercover investigator’s fictitious 5-year-old daughter.

Rickdal was arrested when he arrived at a hotel possessing aids he described to the undercover agent that would assist in the planned sexual abuse of the minor.

At the time of his arrest, Rickdal was on community corrections supervision for a 2012 conviction for attempted child molestation in the second degree and possession of depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. He served 34 months in prison and remains a registered sex offender.

“Despite serving a previous state sentence for related crimes, this predator continued seeking to harm innocent children,” said Brad Bench, special agent in charge of HSI Seattle. “Through joint law enforcement efforts and a shared commitment to halt child exploitation entirely, these agents continue seeking justice for all real and potential victims of this heinous crime.”

At sentencing, U.S. District Judge James L. Robart said he was “substantially concerned about protecting the public.”

“A federal conviction – with its significant penalties and intensive supervision after release – is the right result in a case like this,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. “I commend law enforcement for working proactively to identify those who try to use the internet to commit their crimes. There is no question that their work prevented the exploitation of real children and the impact such horrific crimes have over a lifetime.”

The case was investigated in coordination with the Seattle Police Department and prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Cecelia Gregson, a Senior Deputy King County Prosecutor specially designated to prosecute child exploitation crimes in federal court.

This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 16,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2016, more than 2,600 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 800 victims identified or rescued.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page. HSI is a founding member of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

Updated: 11/19/2020