SANTA ANA, CA (KCAL/KCBS/CNN) - A 21-year-old man from California faces multiple counts of child abuse for allegedly engaging in sex acts with a 12-year-old girl he met through the dating app Tinder.
Detectives from Santa Ana Police arrested 21-year-old Sean Rickard behind a clothing store Wednesday in a sting operation. He is being held on $100,000 bail.
Officials say, before his arrest, Rickard thought he was going to meet a 12-year-old girl he’d allegedly sexually assaulted Monday. The man first met and talked to the girl through Tinder and Snapchat, according to police.
Officers say at first, the girl lied about her age, telling Rickard she was 19, but then, she admitted to him that she was a 7th grader and only 12. The two had allegedly been communicating for eight months before the victim disclosed her true age.
Anthony Bertagna with the Santa Ana Police says the girl’s charter school alerted detectives to the relationship. Police say Rickard picked up the victim Monday and took her to a parking lot, where he allegedly sexually assaulted her.
"When he picked her up in the area of the school, thankfully, another student saw it, was not comfortable with it, took a picture, went to their parents and told them what they saw. That parent was astute enough to reach out to the school, who did their job and contacted us,” Bertagna said.
Police say Rickard admitted to knowing the victim was 12 years old and engaging in sex acts with her. He also allegedly admitted to driving to the clothing store where he was arrested in order to meet the victim for the purposes of engaging in sex acts.
Detectives believe there may be additional victims. They are also reminding parents to closely monitor their children’s social media activity for any inappropriate content.