A California Highway Patrol officer assigned to the station in Joshua Tree was charged Friday, Dec. 7, with sex crimes involving children.
Robert Stephano, 44, was arrested the same day in Twentynine Palms on suspicion of lewd acts with a child between 14 and 15 years old, communicating with a minor with the intent to commit a sex crime and arranging to meet with a minor to commit a sex crime, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said.
Stephano was expected to be booked into the Central Detention Center on Friday, according to the Sheriff’s Department, but had not been as of 8:30 p.m.
The victims were identified as girls ages 14 and 17.
Stephano has been a CHP officer for 12 years. His station, Morongo Basin, reported the allegations to the Sheriff’s Department in May so it could take over the investigation.
Stephano is accused of soliciting underage victims for sexual acts dating to July 2010, a news release said. Stephano volunteered as an assistant softball coach for a Morongo Basin recreation league and assisted youth groups for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Investigators ask that anyone with information on the case or who believes he has been victimized by Stephano call Detective James Tebbetts at 909-387-3589 or leave tips anonymously with WeTip at 800-782-7463 or on its website at www.wetip.com.
Source: Orange County Register