Stories posted are written by National news Journalists, not by this blog.
Our Blog Tips

CA- O.C. deputy found dead faced molestation charges

4-3-2008 California:

An on-duty Orange County sheriff's deputy who was found dead Wednesday afternoon had been criminally charged earlier in the day with molesting a 12-year-old boy he met through a mentoring program, authorities said today.

Gerald Stenger, 41, was found at 2 p.m. in the driver's seat of an unmarked patrol car with a single gunshot wound to the head in an Aliso Viejo parking structure, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office.

Stenger was charged Wednesday morning with molesting a 12-year-old boy from 1995 to 1997. Authorities said the veteran deputy met the youth through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County. He would have faced a maximum sentence of 18 years in prison if convicted.

The county district attorney's office said it had concluded that Stenger was at risk of committing suicide if he discovered that he was going to be charged. In an attempt to keep Stenger from finding out he was about to be arrested, county prosecutors sealed documents and tried to arrange for a "safe" arrest.

District attorney investigators had planned to arrest Stenger on Wednesday afternoon.

The district attorney's office is investigating the case. ..more.. by My-Thuan Tran, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Dead investigator had extensive child-porn collection

Hundreds of images discovered in deceased man's Aliso Viejo home. Authorities searching for more victims.

4-23-2008 California:

ALISO VIEJO – A veteran Sheriff's Department investigator who killed himself after accessing an internal computer system to discover he was facing child-molestation charges kept an extensive child-pornography collection at his Aliso Viejo home, including several images that appeared to have been homemade, authorities said Wednesday.

County officials believe Gerald F. Stenger III, facing charges that he molested a young boy he met through a mentoring program, may have victimized other children he met through his volunteer work with Little League and teaching at-risk middle school children.

Stenger shot himself in the head in the front seat of his unmarked Ford Crown Victoria on April 2 in an Aliso Viejo parking structure, hours after molestation charges were filed against him. A judge had deemed the 20-year department veteran a suicide risk and a warrant had been issued for his arrest.

Stenger, a 41-year-old unmarried Aliso Viejo man, had extensive access to young children, teaching a "Tools for Tolerance" program for at-risk middle school students through a Neighborhood Enforcement Team and working with Little League, according to county officials. Investigators with the Orange County District Attorney's Office are looking for other potential victims who may have come in contact with Stenger.

Hundreds of images of child pornography, including some that appeared to have been homemade, were discovered in his Aliso Viejo home. Authorities did not elaborate on the age or sex of the children depicted in the images.

The revelation of the child-molestation accusations and child-pornography collection is the latest problem for the Sheriff's Department, which has seen the indictment of Sheriff Michael Carona, the dismantling of the department's command staff amid allegations of abuse and dereliction of duty in the county's jails and arrest one of its deputies assigned to the Orange County Transportation Authority after accusations surfaced last year that he was molesting and taking pictures of naked prostitutes while on duty.

Stenger faced a possible sentence of 18 years in prison if convicted of charges that he molested a boy for three years after meeting him through a youth program and taking on an unofficial role as his mentor, authorities said.

After Stenger's death, authorities revealed that he had searched an internal county records system more than 400 times looking for himself since being granted access to the database in August 2007, when he was promoted to investigator. The only case he accessed in the system was his own, said Susan Schroeder of the Orange County District Attorney's Office. The charges Stenger was facing stretched back more than a decade, but the allegations surfaced just last October, when Stenger's alleged victim, now in his 20s, came forward.

Officials with the Orange County District Attorney's Office said they took numerous precautions to arrest Stenger safely, including sealing the court case and warrant, but Stenger accessed the system minutes before the case was sealed and discovered the charges against him. Although prosecutors and investigators from the District Attorney's Office acknowledged Stenger was a suicide risk, several hours passed between the time a no-bail arrest warrant was issued for Stenger and the process to arrest the 20-year veteran began in Santa Ana.

Without telling him he would be arrested, Stenger was told to report to Central Men's Jail in Santa Ana on April 2, where authorities expected to take him into custody safely, Schroeder said.

Television news vans were parked outside of sheriff headquarters at the time Stenger was expected to arrive and be taken into custody, although sheriff's officials said they didn't know if they were there to cover Stenger's arrest.

Authorities are investigating whether information about Stenger's arrest was leaked to circles outside law enforcement even though the complaint had been sealed.

According to prosecutors, Stenger met the boy and his brother through the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County program. According to a complaint unsealed Thursday afternoon, Stenger was assigned to a relative of the boy as a Big Brother. The rest of the court file, including the arrest warrant, remained under seal Thursday.

Prosecutors alleged, according to court documents, that the sexual abuse began in 1994, when the accuser was 11. The abuse, which occurred at the boy's home and often while the boy's mother was home, lasted until 1997, according to the complaint. Stenger was employed by the Sheriff's Department at the time.

The mother of Stenger's accuser walked in on her son and Stenger in bed together several times, the complaint said.

Although he was not officially assigned to the victim as his Big Brother, Stenger unofficially assumed that role more than a decade ago, said Farrah Emami of the District Attorney's Office.

Anyone with additional information or who believes they have been a victim is asked to call Supervising District Attorney Investigator Craig Kelsey at 714-347-8794. ..more.. by KIMBERLY EDDS, The Orange County Register: 714-796-7829 or

No comments: