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Press Release

Portland, Oregon man arrested for traveling to sexually molest 5-year-old

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Repeatedly contacted undercover agent who was posing as a father with young kids who could be sexually abused

Seattle – A Portland, Oregon, resident was charged today in U.S. District Court in Seattle with enticement of a minor. The criminal complaint alleges that DIRK WALTER TICHGELAAR, 44, attempted to coerce, entice, and persuade someone under 18 to engage in sexual activity.  TICHGELAAR was arrested in Whatcom County, Washington, and made his initial appearance on the charges in Seattle this afternoon.

According to the complaint, between October 2019 and January 2020, TICHGELAAR used an internet-based chat platform to communicate about sexual abuse of children.  TICHGELAAR used a screen nickname containing the word “Pedo” to communicate on this platform.  TICHGELAAR repeatedly sought out an undercover agent who was posing as the father of two young children, a girl 5 and a boy 4.  TICHGELAAR proposed traveling to the “father’s” location so that he could sexually molest the 5-year-old.   On Saturday January 25, 2020, TICHGELAAR arrived at a Whatcom County hotel and met with an agent he believed was the “father” from the online chat.  TICHGELAAR carried a bag with an “Elsa” dress as a gift for the 5-year-old.  TICHGELAAR went to a hotel room with the agent and was arrested.

Enticement of a minor is punishable by 10 years to life in prison.

The charges contained in the criminal complaint are only allegations.  A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Hampton.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by 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 better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit



Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or

Updated January 27, 2020

Project Safe Childhood