CINCINNATI — A British man who traveled to Ohio in 2011 to engage a minor in illicit sexual activity was sentenced Tuesday to 16 years in prison. The sentencing follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Richard Castle, 47, a resident of the United Kingdom, has been sentenced to serve 192 months in prison in connection with a trip he made to Ohio from his home in the United Kingdom in order to have sexual relations with a juvenile in June 2011.
Members of the Metropolitan Police Service's Extradition Team and International Assistance Unit, housed within New Scotland Yard, arrested Castle at his home in Northampton, England, on Jan. 12, 2012.
"This case is a disturbing reminder that international borders are no longer a hindrance for child predators," said Marlon Miller, special agent in charge of HSI Detroit, which covers Michigan and Ohio. "However, today's significant sentencing should assure victims around the world that HSI and our partners in the international law enforcement community are committed to aggressively targeting those engaged in these heinous acts."
A federal grand jury indicted Castle on Feb. 15, 2012, and he pleaded guilty on Oct. 3, 2013, to charges of coercion of a minor, traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual contact with a minor and transferring obscene material to a minor. Castle admitted that, posing as a male named Richard Joshua Parker, he used the Internet between March 2009 and June 2011 to coerce a juvenile to engage in illicit sexual activity. He flew to Dayton in June 2011 to engage in illicit sexual relations with the juvenile and stayed approximately three weeks. Castle also admitted that he transferred obscene materials to this same juvenile.
"Threats against our children can come from any corner of the globe," said U.S. Attorney Carter Stewart. "We must become partners with law enforcement agencies around the world in order to fight child exploitation effectively."
The case was investigated by HSI, the Englewood Police Department, and the Vandalia Police Department with support provided by the Miami Valley Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory, and the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the U.S. Marshals Service, the HSI AttachÃ© London Office, and the ICE Office of the Principal Legal Advisor. The Criminal Division's Office of International Affairs also provided assistance with Castle's extradition.
This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing 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 & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.