News and Press Releases

Washington Man Sentenced to 15 Years for Traveling to Tampa to Have Sex with Child

October 6 , 2011

Tampa, FL - U.S. Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces that U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington today sentenced Michael Goddard (52, Bellingham, Washington) to 15 years in federal prison for using a computer and cell phone to induce and entice a child for sex. The court also ordered Goddard to forfeit his computer, which was used in committing the offense. Goddard pled guilty on May 2, 2011.

According to court documents, in August 2010, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement 's Homeland Security Investigations special agents (ICE-HSI) began an investigation to identify and arrest online predators who were using their computers to arrange for sex with minors and who travel to meet minors for sexual purposes. During the investigation, an undercover agent in Tampa, posing as a single mother with a twelve-year-old daughter, entered an online chat room and was contacted by an individual later identified as Goddard.

Beginning on approximately August 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 thirteen-year-old girl.

On October 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 when he arrived at the Tampa airport.

“This man traveled to Tampa from Washington State 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 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 investigated by ICE-HSI and the Tampa Airport Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Amanda C. Kaiser.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit For more information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab "other resources."

This case 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 1-866-347-2423. This hotline is 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



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