DOJ employee pleads guilty to traveling to have sex with a minor

Posted at 8:32 PM, Jun 24, 2016

U.S. Department of Justice employee pleaded guilty Friday to interstate travel with the intent to engage in a sexual act with a minor.

According to the department of justice, James Cicala, 55, of Columbia placed multiple ads in the Delaware, Maryland and D.C. editions of an online marketplace, seeking females to engage in "daddy-daughter” relationships. 

On July 21, 2015, an undercover detective with the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office who was investigating child solicitation on the internet responded to Cicala’s ad entitled “Daddy’s Little Girl.”

The undercover detective identified himself as “Sydney,” a 15-year-old girl, and Cicala identified himself as a man in his late 40s. 

Cicala and “Syndey,” the undercover detective, exchanged messages for several weeks, eventually agreeing to meet to engage in sexually explicit conduct, according to the department of justice.

Cicala frequently tried to engage “Sydney” in sexually explicit chat, telling her to delete the message, and sent Sydney nude and partially nude photos of himself.

According to the plea agreement, the two planned to meet on  August 1, 2015. On the day Cicala traveled from his beach house in Delaware to Berlin, Maryland, to meet “Sydney,” who did not show up, later claiming that she was with her Aunt and was unable to get away.

The texting continued and Cicala again made arrangements to meet Sydney on August 15, 2015, in Berlin.  

Cicala traveled from his beach house in Delaware to Berlin, Maryland, with the intent of having sex with “Sydney,” whom he believed to be a 15-year-old girl.

He was arrested when he arrived at the meeting place. He had his DOJ issued cell phone, which he had used for sending and receiving the texts with “Sydney.”

On August 17, 2015, Cicala was placed on administrative leave by the Department of Justice.

Cicala faces a maximum of 30 years in prison followed by up to lifetime of supervised release for traveling interstate to have sex with a minor.  

Sentencing is set for August 25, 2016.