Thursday, November 23, 2006

California Highway Patrol - CHP Officer Arrested In Sex Sting In Laguna - Feb. 23, 2006, The Orange County Register

CHP Officer arrested in sex sting in Laguna
The 51-year-old was one of 13 charged with attempted child molestation in Internet operation.

The Orange County Register
Feb. 23, 2006

LAGUNA BEACH - A California Highway Patrol lieutenant was among 13 men charged with attempted child molestation Wednesday after an Internet sting that authorities called the largest of its kind in Orange County. Lt. Stephen Robert Deck, 51, of Carlsbad was arrested Saturday at a Laguna Beach park where police said he expected to meet a 13-year-old girl who wanted to have sex with him. Instead, he met a female police officer and was arrested.

"He was not feeling well. He showed signs of having a lot of anxiety," Laguna Beach Police Chief Michael Sellers said.
Some of the other men who went to Laguna Beach, purportedly to meet 12- and 13-year-old girls, tried to run away.
"We arrested all 13 in 11 hours. We could have arrested more, but we've tapped our resources for now," Sellers said.

Deck was assigned to the San Juan Capistrano station and is on retirement status after 23 years on the force, CHP Sgt. Rosemary Manjarrez said. She was unable to say when Deck's retirement began, but the District Attorney's Office reported that he was on active duty when the arrest took place.

All 13 men, ranging in age from 19 to 51, face four years in prison if convicted, District Attorney Anthony J. Rackauckas said. The sting began Feb. 9 after Laguna Beach police contacted, which had helped Riverside County police snag 49 people last month. The site's operators carried on an Internet chat that led to the Orange County suspects' rendezvous with Laguna Beach police, authorities said. The chat was designed to prevent situations that could bolster an entrapment defense, such as making sure the defendants suggested the sex, Sgt. Darin Lenyi said.

The men were subtle in their initial approach to what they thought were young girls, Rackauckas said. "The conversations all started out innocent, talking about food, parents and makeup, and soon turned into a sickening perversion," the district attorney said. Most of the suspects traveled to a Laguna Beach apartment, but Deck changed the meeting spot to the park, authorities said. One suspect had a rose for his intended sex partner, most carried condoms, one brought drugs and one had pornography, authorities said.

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