A circus clown who goes by the name of “Spanky” was arrested last week in Fayetteville on charges involving child pornography, federal agents said Tuesday.
Thomas Riccio, 23, of Jacksonville, Fla., was arrested Friday by officers from the Fayetteville Police Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, ICE said in a news release. He was arrested while traveling with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, they said.
Riccio, who made his first court appearance Monday in Cumberland County District Court, faces 10 counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.
ICE spokesman Dean Boyd said he was not clear what happened with Riccio in court or whether he was still being held. He also did not know what sentence Riccio would face if found guilty.
Riccio was arrested as part of ICE’s Operation Predator, which targets predatory crimes, including child pornography and child trafficking. Since July, Operation Predator has led to more than 2,900 arrests nationwide.
My referral log was showing a lot of hits for “Spanky the Clown” and I wondered what was going on. The story on my site was about a different Spanky the Clown who was trying to have Mayor Daily excommunicated.