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Anaheim man suspected of sexually assaulting 12-year-old girl he met on Tinder

Anaheim man suspected of sexually assaulting 12-year-old girl he met on Tinder
Sean Rickard, 21, was arrested this week after police said he sexually assaulted a preteen girl in Santa Ana. (Santa Ana Police Department)

An Anaheim man was arrested this week on suspicion of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl he met on the Tinder dating app last year, police said.

The girl told police she had posed as a 19-year-old woman on the app when she began talking to Sean Rickard, 21, roughly eight months ago. A few weeks ago, she told police she admitted to him that she was only 12. Santa Ana police say that didn’t dissuade Rickard from meeting her, though.

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Rickard picked up the girl on Monday and took her to a parking lot in Santa Ana, where she was sexually assaulted, police said. The preteen reported the attack two days later.

After they learned that Rickard used Snapchat to communicate with the girl, detectives posed as her and began chatting with him through the app. Authorities said Rickard thought he was communicating with the girl and unknowingly sent a video to detectives of him masturbating.

He also made plans to meet the girl later that night “for the purposes of engaging in sexual activity,” authorities wrote in a news release. Detectives set up a sting operation at a clothing store in Anaheim and arrested Rickard after he pulled into the parking lot.

Rickard is being held in Orange County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail. Prosecutors have not filed charges against him. He is expected to appear in court Friday, according to Orange County Superior Court and jail records.

Santa Ana police are looking for other possible victims. Anyone with information is asked to contact Det. Nick Vega at (714) 245-8368 or Orange County Crime Stoppers at (855) 847-6227.

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