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Case: 5:19-mj-05018-MAS

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AFFIDAVIT IN SUPPORT OF CRIMINAL COMPLAINT AND ARREST WARRANT

I, Michael H. Romagnoli, having been first duly sworn, do hereby depose and state as follows:

INTRODUCTION

 

1.

I

am a Special Agent with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS),

Homeland

Security Investigations (HSI) and have been so employed since 2009.

From January 1998 until

2009 I was a sworn officer of the Kentucky State Police where I served as a Trooper, Detective and Sergeant. I am currently assigned to the Resident Agent in Charge (RAC) Northern Kentucky

Office.

My responsibilities as a Special Agent involve investigating crimes involving a wide range

of criminal activities to include the sexual exploitation of children. I have received training in the investigation of child exploitation offenses, and I have conducted and assisted in numerous child

exploitation investigations.

I have executed many search warrants that have led to the seizure of

child

pornography.

I

am

also responsible

for enforcing

federal criminal

statutes involving

immigration and customs violations.

 
 

2.

In the course of my duties as a Special Agent, I have participated in the investigation

of Micky RIFE (hereinafter referred to as "RIFE").

The information in this affidavit is based on

my

personal

knowledge as

well

as information obtained

from witnesses, including

law

 

enforcement officers.

 
 

3.

Based

on the

information

set

forth herein,

your Affiant submits

that there

is

probable cause to believe that RIFE has violated Title

("Engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places").

18, United States Code, Section 2423(c) This affidavit is intended to show only

that there is sufficient probable cause for the requested warrant, and therefore, this affidavit does not contain all of the information known to me and other law enforcement officers involved in this

investigation.

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STATUTORY AUTHORITY

  • 4. Section 2423(c) makes it unlawful for a United States citizen or alien admitted for

permanent residence to travel in foreign commerce or to reside, either temporarily or permanently, in a foreign country, and to engage in any illicit sexual conduct with another person.

  • 5. Section 2423(±) defines "illicit sexual conduct" to include "a sexual act (as defined

in section 2246) with a person under 18 years of age that would be in violation of chapter I 09A if the sexual act occurred in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States."

The definition of "sexual act" in 18 U.S.C. § 2246 includes "the penetration, however slight, of the anal or genital opening of another by a hand or finger or by any object, with an intent to abuse,

humiliate,

harass, degrade, or

arouse or

gratify

the sexual

desire

of any person,"

and

"the

intentional touching, not through clothing, of the genitalia of another person who has not attained the age of 16 years with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person." 18 U.S.C. § 2246(2)(C) and (2)(D).

PROBABLE CAUSE

  • 6. On or about September 3, 2012, Micky RIFE, a United States Citizen, traveled from

the United States to Phnom Penh, Cambodia (by way of Incheon, South Korea).

He arrived in

Cambodia on or about September 4, 2012, and did not return to the United States until on or about

December 9, 2018.

From approximately September 2012 until on or about December 5, 2018,

RIFE was employed as a teacher at the Hi-Bridge International School of Phnom Penh. Before his departure from the United States, RIFE resided in Salyersville, Kentucky. Since his return to the United States, RIFE has stated that he is living "nowhere" and is staying with multiple relatives

until he finds a place.

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  • 7. On or about February 20, 2018, HSI Phnom Penh received information from the

Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) at the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, about a teacher

(later identified as Micky RIFE) who had allegedly sexually assaulted a Cambodian female student

who was approximately five (5) years of age at the time of the assault.

  • 8. The DCM received the information about the allegations from RIFE's ex-girlfriend

(Witness 1,

hereinafter "Wl ").

Wl told the DCM that she and RIFE had been in a long term

relationship but were not married, and that they had adopted a Cambodian female child, who was

approximately 2 years old. Wl was concerned that RIFE was sexually abusing their adopted child

and may leave Cambodia and take their adopted daughter with him.

  • 9. According to HSI Phnom Penh, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at the

United States Embassy, Phnom Penh, Cambodia had received information in 2013 in reference to

RIFE and his unusual behavior with students. The FBI had worked with Action Pour Les Enfants

(APLE), a non-government organization (NGO) which specializes in investigating crimes against

children, on several occasions, but no substantial information about the sexual allegations against

RIFE could be established at that time.

  • 10. On February 20, 2018, HSI Phnom Penh contacted Wl via mobile telephone. Wl

agreed to talk in detail with HSI Special Agent (SA) John Koski at a later date about the situation

that she reported to the DCM.

Wl provided the below information about RIFE, which was later

confirmed to be accurate:

Name: Micky RIFE Date of Birth (DOB): November 30, 1983 USA Passport number: 488342433

  • 11. On February 22, 2018, HSI (SA) John Koski and HSI Phnom Penh Foreign Service

National Investigator (FSNI) Channa Saing interviewed the former vice principal at Hi-Bridge

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International School (Witness 2, hereinafter "W2"). W2 was employed by Hi-Bridge International

School from July 2013 to January 2018 as the vice principal of academic affairs.

During this

interview, W2 described a written warning memorandum that had been provided to RIFE in 2013

from Hi-Bridge International School that addressed RIFE's misconduct and inappropriate behavior

with children at the school. W2 provided an electronic copy of this memorandum to SA Koski.

W2 stated that she knew of two children who attended school at Hi-Bridge International School

who were molested by RIFE, one in 2013

and one in 2015 (later identified as Minor Victim 1,

hereinafter "MV l ").

  • 12. On February 26, 2018, HSI Phnom Penh interviewed the mother of two juvenile

females who attended Hi-Bridge International School for some of the time RIFE was employed

there (Witness 3, hereinafter "W3").

W3

reported that in the spring of 2015, one of her daughters

(MVl) told W3 that she was having pain when she would urinate. MVl was approximately four

years old at the time.

After receiving unsuccessful medical services to treat the pain in Cambodia,

W3 took MVI to see a physician in Vietnam in approximately June of 2015.

While returning to

Cambodia, MVl told her mother (W3) that the pain she had when urinating was a result of RIFE

touching her vagina.

MVI also reported that RIFE would touch MVl

during break times during

school

hours.

MVl

told her mother (W3) that RIFE would place his hands over as well as

underneath MVl 's panties, and that RIFE would inappropriately touch the girls at the school and

not the boys.

  • 13. The medical records from MVl

were translated and reviewed.

At the medical

appointment in Vietnam, MVl was diagnosed with "Vulvovaginitis" and prescribed "cefixime"

and "paracetamol." According

to open

source research,

your

affiant has

been

informed the

following: vulvovaginitis is an inflammation or infection of the vulva and vagina; "cefixime" treats

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bacterial infections such as bronchitis, gonorrhea, and infections of the ears, throat, tonsils, and

urinary tract; and "paracetamol" is a pain reliever and fever reducer.

  • 14. W3 also reported that two days prior to the interview taking place with HSI Phnom

Penh, W3 overheard MVI and her sister (also a minor) talking with one another while they were

playing in their bedroom. MVI 's sister asked MVI if she remembered while they were attending

Hi-Bridge International School, when RIFE would throw them in the air and catch them and when

doing so would place his hands underneath their skirts and touch their vagina and buttocks. MVl 's

sister told W3 that RIFE would touch all the girls at the school in the manner previously described.

  • 15. On March 17, 2018, HSI Phnom Penh FSNI Saing and an APLE Social Work

Officer (SWO) separately interviewed MVl and her sister in their native language, Khmer. MVl

identified RIFE from a photo line-up, but did not report any inappropriate touching by RIFE.

MVl 's sister stated that she had been told by MVl that "Teacher Micky touched her part,"

meaning her private part. MVl 's sister also reported that "Teacher Micky" also touched a friend

of hers in this manner, later identified as Minor Victim 2 (hereinafter "MV2").

  • 16. On April 29, 2018, HSI Atlanta Forensic Interview Specialist (FIS) Crystal George

interviewed MVl through a Khmer interpreter. MVl reported that "Teacher Micky" would catch

her after he had thrown her into the air and would touch her "inside." MVl stated, "he didn't only

touch me, he did that to other students also," and stated that RIFE had touched her in her groin

area (which she had previously circled on a diagram), underneath her clothing, and underneath her

skirt. MVl continued to state that RIFE had used his hand, and "five fingers," to touch underneath

her panties. When asked if RIFE's fingers would go "inside her or not inside her," MVI stated,

"inside." When asked how it made MVI feel when RIFE's fingers would go inside her, MVI

stated, "it would hurt." When MVl was asked what she used the part of her body where RIFE had

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touched her for, she stated, "for pee."

MVl stated that she was approximately 4-5 years old when

this would happen.

 

17.

On March 31, 2018, MV2 was interviewed by FSNI Saing and an APLE SWO in

Khmer.

MV2 stated that RIFE was the one who "slipped his hand into my skirt when carrying

me."

She said she would run away afterwards.

She stated that RIFE would put his hands under

her panties and inside her. She said she was about 7 or 8 years old at the time and "it happened

many times".

 
 

18.

On April 30, 2018, HSI Atlanta Forensic Interview Specialist (FIS) Crystal George

interviewed MV2.

MV2 stated that RIFE "would turn me up and play."

MV2 stated that when

she started to notice the inappropriate touching, she started to avoid RIFE more and more. When

asked how RIFE's hand would get underneath her panties, MV2 replied, "he would open it and

go."

MV2 described that RIFE would place his hands underneath her skirt by going up her legs

rather than down from her waist. When MV2 was asked what part of her body RIFE's hand would

touch when he when put his hand underneath her panties, MV2 replied, "my girlie part," and stated

that she used this part of her body to "pee."

MV2 stated that RIFE would place his fingers

underneath her panties to touch her. When asked if RIFE' s fingers would go "inside or not inside

her girlie part," MV2 replied, "go inside."

 
 

19.

Based upon information received from HSI Phnom Penh, RIFE was terminated

from his position as a teacher at the Hi-Bridge International School on or about December 5, 2018.

RIFE made

arrangements

to travel

to

the

United States

and re-entered the

United States on

December 9, 2018.

 
 

20.

Upon entry on December

9, 2018, RIFE

was sent

to secondary

screening

and

inspected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer (CBPO)

Stephen Kennedy.

CBPO

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Kennedy stated he found a notebook with notes on what he believed to be RIFE's child's bathroom

usage.

CBPO Kennedy also found texts and messages on RIFE's phone from unknown persons

asking multiple questions about him leaving Cambodia such as, "Why did you leave?" "Did you

do something bad?" CBPO Kennedy said he quickly looked thought RIFE's phone and computer

as well as a notebook and travel documents. CBPO Kennedy observed what appeared to be school

documents on RIFE's computer.

Copies were made of pages of the notebook which contained

references to pornographic websites, usernames, passwords, games, websites, and a page which

was in another language.

  • 21. RIFE stated to CBPO Kennedy that he left Cambodia and his job on good terms.

RIFE said he did not get paid enough money and so he left to return to the U.S. to seek employment.

RIFE stated he would be staying with his brother or mother, but he did not know the addresses.

RIFE's mother lives in Elizabethtown, KY and his brother lives in Owensboro, KY.

RIFE also

told CBPO Kennedy that he does

not have a current address and provided his

old address in

Salyersville, KY.

CONCLUSION

  • 22. Based on the facts set forth in this affidavit and my training and experience, I submit

that there is probable cause to believe that RIFE committed violations of federal law, specifically,

violations of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2423(c).

Between on or about September 3,

2012 and

on or

about December 9,

2018,

RIFE,

a United States

citizen, traveled in foreign

commerce, and between on or about March 7, 2013 and on or about December 9, 2018, resided in

Cambodia, a foreign country, and engaged and attempted to engage in illicit sexual conduct, as

defined in Title 18, United States Code, Section 2423(f)(l ), with another person under 18 years of

age, to wit MVl and MV2, all in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2423(c) and (e).

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Signed remotely per Rule 4.1.

See

Addendum.

Special Agent Michael H. Romagnoli Department of Homeland Security- Homeland Security Investigations

Sworn to before me this 24th day of January, 2019.

Case: 5:19-mj-05018-MAS Doc #: 1-1 Filed: 01/25/19 Page: 8 of 9 - Page ID#: 9 Signed

iv?atthew A. Stinnett

United States Magistrate Judge

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Rule 4.1 Addendum

Per Rule 41(d)(3) and Rule 4.1, the Court processed the complaint remotely. The Court verified

the Affiant's iden

badge #

(through Affiant self-identification and by personal knowledge), with

. Affiant simply attested to the affidavit and application,

]<,Cf

which the AUSA transmitted by remote electronic means ( e-mail). The Court issued the original complaint and transmitted same to the Applicant and the AUSA, by remote electronic means (e­ mail). The process complied with Rule 4.1.

Hon. Matthew A. Stinnett

United States Magistrate Judge

Date and Time:

l /.H /15

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