Santa Ana, California: Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer announced that charges had been filed against a Santa Ana Police Office after he was identified as a suspect in an undercover sting operation.
"Police officers are entrusted with the sacred responsibility to safeguard society from harm," Spitzer said. "It is beyond disturbing that a sworn police officer would engage in inappropriate conversations with someone he believed to be a child. Our children should not have to worry about being preyed upon by the very people we teach them who are there to protect them. The vast majority of police officers are the trusted authority figures we expect them to be and when an officer engages in criminal behavior it tarnishes the badge of all our hardworking law enforcement officers."
The officer in question has been identified as 43-year-old Santa Ana Police Detective Gregory Daniel Beaumarchais. He has been with the police force since 2011 and has been on administrative leave since he was identified as a suspect in the investigation.
In 2019 Beaumarchais was named as Detective of the Year by the department.
Beaumarchais has been charged with a single count of misdemeanor annoying or molesting a victim believed to be under the age of 18.
Prosecutors state that between December 2021 and January 2022 Beaumarchais sent "graphic messages" to an undercover individual posing as a 14-year-old girl. When his first account was deactivated by the provider, he is alleged to have created a second account to communicate further with the supposed child.
After the initial contact, Orange County Crime Stoppers was alerted about the messages from someone claiming to be a police officer.
According to the press release issued by the Orange County DA's office, some of the messages were believed to have been sent while Beaumarchais was on duty.
Beaumarchais turned himself in yesterday after a warrant was issued for his arrest and was soon released on his own recognizance. He is scheduled to be back in court for his arraignment on October 13, 2022.
If convicted he faces a possible sentence of up to one year in jail and would be required to register as a sex offender.
Paul S. Meyer has been hired to represent Beaumarchais and said that it would be "premature to comment" as he had not yet seen the evidence against his client.
"Today's filing of criminal charges for showing sexual interest in children shows no one is above the law when it comes to keeping communities from from predators," Shawn Gibson, acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations Los Angeles stated.