A one-time “California Detective of the Year” with the Santa Ana Police Department was charged with sending sexually explicit messages to a decoy he thought was a 14-year-old girl—sometimes while on-duty.
Gregory Daniel Beaumarchais faces misdemeanor charges “of annoying or molesting a victim thought to be under the age of 18,” according to the New York Post.
“Police officers are entrusted with the sacred responsibility to safeguard society from harm,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement.
“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.”
Beaumarchais, who was named “California Detective of the Year in 2019,” allegedly exchanged sexually explicit messages with a “civilian decoy” between December 2021 and January 2022, prosecutors said. The decoy then contacted Crime Stoppers and told them about messages from someone who said they were a police officer.
After a warrant was issued for his arrest, Beaumarchais turned himself in Tuesday. He was released on his own recognizance and is scheduled to appear in court for his arraignment on October 13.
He has been placed on administrative leave at his job at the police department, where he has worked for 11 years.
Santa Ana Police Department said in a statement Tuesday that they learned of Beaumarchais’ “potential criminal conduct” late last week.
“Upon assessing the information, the Department’s Internal Affairs Unit determined the matter to be criminal in nature and the Police Department took immediate and swift action in referring these allegations to the appropriate local and federal authorities,” Santa Ana Police officials said in a statement. “Our department learned of this information on a Friday, and the following Monday, we directly engaged with federal partners to initiate a criminal investigation.”
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security aided with the investigation.
If convicted, Beaumarchais faces a max sentence of one year in Orange County Jail, reports the Post. He would be required to register as a sex offender.
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