September 25, 2022

  • An Orange County detective faces up to a year in prison for sexting a decoy he thought was 14 years old.
  • 43-year-old Gregory Daniel Beaumarchais was was named “Detective of the Year” in 2019.
  • If convicted, Beaumarchais, who turned himself in to authorities Tuesday, will have to register as a sex offender.

Gregory Daniel Beaumarchais, 43, a Santa Ana Police Department officer who was once named “Detective of the Year,” faces up to a year in prison for sexting a decoy he thought was 14 years old.

Beaumarchais, who surrendered to authorities Tuesday and is on administrative leave, was charged with one misdemeanor count of molesting or harassing a victim believed to be under 18 years of age. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of one year in the Orange County Jail and must register as a sex offender.

A decoy who posed as a 14-year-old girl on social media allegedly received sexually explicit messages from the detective between December 2021 and January 2022, according to a statement released by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

The decoy reported the officer’s messages to OC Crime Stoppers, which led to an investigation by the US Department of Homeland Security.

The officer — who in 2019 named the department’s “Detective of the Year” — is accused of sending some of the inappropriate messages while on duty and creating alternate accounts to circumvent social media bans to continue sending the messages.

“Police officers have a sacred responsibility to protect society from harm,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. he 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 victimized by the very people we teach them and are there to protect them. The vast majority of police officers are the trusted law enforcement officers we expect them to be and when one officer engages in criminal behavior it tarnishes the badge of all hardworking law enforcement officers.”

The district attorney’s office and the Santa Ana Police Department did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

The rates of sex crimes committed by police officers are unclear, as the crimes often go unreported. 2015 survey by the Associated Press found about 1,000 officers who lost their badges over a six-year period for crimes such as rape, sodomy and other sexual crimes, including possession of child pornography. About a third of the fired officers were charged with incidents involving minors.

“It’s happening in probably every law enforcement agency across the country,” said Chief Bernadette DiPino of the Sarasota Police Department in Florida, who helped study the problem for the International Association of Chiefs of Police. he told the AP at that time. “It’s so under-reported and people are afraid that if they call and complain about a police officer, they think every other police officer is going to go get them.”

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