TAMPA, Fla. – A Washington man was sentenced in federal court Thursday for traveling from Seattle to Tampa to have sex with a 12-year-old, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Michael Goddard, 52, of Bellingham, Wash., was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for using a computer and cell phone to induce and entice a child for sex. Goddard pleaded guilty on May 2.
In August 2010, ICE HSI special agents began an investigation to identify and arrest online predators who were using their computers to arrange for sex with minors and travel to meet minors for sexual purposes. During the investigation, an undercover agent in Tampa, posing as a single mother with a 12-year-old daughter, entered an online chat room and was contacted by an individual later identified as Goddard.
Beginning around Aug. 10, 2010, Goddard communicated in numerous online chats and via cell phone with the undercover agent, and expressed his desire to engage in sexual activity with the "mom" and "daughter." He emailed "child erotica" pictures to the agent to demonstrate what he liked and admitted that he previously had sex with a 13-year-old girl.
On Oct. 6, 2010, Goddard flew from Seattle to Tampa to meet and have sex with the "mother" and "daughter." He was also planning to move in with them.
Goddard was arrested by HSI special agents and Tampa Airport Police Department officers when he arrived at Tampa International Airport.
"This man traveled from Seattle to Tampa to have sex with who he thought was a 12-year-old girl whose mother he met on the Internet. Instead, he was met by undercover HSI agents who arrested him on the spot," said Susan McCormick, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Tampa. "This sentence should send a stern warning to anyone who would even consider doing something like this. We have a strong track record of working with our law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to bring such criminals to justice."
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda C. Kaiser.
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.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE and its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.