BERLIN — A federal Department of Justice employee was indicted last week on charges of traveling interstate to have sex with a minor after allegedly traveling from his beach house in Delaware to a location in Worcester County for a pre-arranged illicit encounter with an undercover Sheriff’s deputy in August.
According to the indictment, on Aug. 15, a suspect later identified as James Cicala, 54, of Columbia, Md. traveled from his beach house in Delaware to Worcester County to engage in a sexual act with an underage girl. According to a search warrant affidavit attached to the indictment, on July 21, an undercover detective with the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, who was investigating child solicitation on the Internet, responded to an ad entitled “Daddy’s Little Girl.”
The person posting the ad stated an interest in meeting someone for a daddy-daughter relationship. The undercover detective identified himself as a juvenile female and the poster identified himself as a male in his late 40s. The suspect, later identified as Cicala, and the undercover detective carried on numerous conversations during which Cicala referred to himself as “daddy,” according to the indictment.
On Aug. 15, weeks after the initial contact, law enforcement officers attempted to identify the owner of the telephone number used to contact the undercover detective and learned that the number belonged to the Department of Justice. Many of the conversations Cicala allegedly had with the undercover officer occurred using Cicala’s Department of Justice-issued phone or work computer, sometimes during work hours.
Cicala was arrested on Aug. 15 as he arrived at the location in Berlin where he was to meet the alleged 15-year-old girl in order to engage in sexually explicit conduct. Cicala traveled from his beach house in Delaware to the meeting place in Berlin. On Aug. 17, Cicala was placed on administrative leave by the Department of Justice, where he worked in IT, and all electronic devices assigned to him were secured.
Cicala faces a maximum of 30 years in prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release for traveling interstate to have sex with a minor. An initial appearance is set for Friday at 3:15 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Sullivan in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.
The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Andre Watson of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; Worcester County Sheriff Reggie T. Mason, Sr.; and Special Agent in Charge Michael Tompkins, Washington Field Office and the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 ironically 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, 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.