|For Immediate Release
Case # 06HF0372
March 19, 2010
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
JUDGE MARC KELLY IGNORES PROSECUTORS AND PROBATION DEPARTMENT AND SENTENCES
RETIRED CHP LIEUTENANT NABBED IN CHILD MOLESTER STING TO PROBATION
*The People objected to the sentence, advocating for the maximum sentence of four years in state prison
SANTA ANA – The Honorable Marc Kelly sentenced today a now-retired Lieutenant for the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to one year in jail, five years of formal probation, and sex offender registration. His sentence was vigorously opposed by the People and the recommendation of the Orange County Department of Probation (OCDP), a neutral third party, was ignored. The CHP Lieutenant was sentenced for attempting to commit unlawful sexual acts with a fictitious 13-year-old girl, whom he believed was real, after meeting the girl online and engaging in explicit sexual conversations. Stephen Robert Deck, 55, Carlsbad, was found guilty by a jury Dec. 22, 2009, of one felony count of attempted lewd acts on a child under 14. The People objected to the sentence, advocating for the maximum sentence allowed by law, four years in state prison. OCDP recommended state prison, finding that “with regard to the serious nature of the offense, it is believed the defendant could be a future threat to the community and is not viewed as a suitable candidate for probation, even if he were eligible.”
“It sends the wrong message to the public when a high ranking police officer who tried to molest a 13-year-old girl gets coddled by the criminal justice system,” stated Public Affairs Counsel Susan Kang Schroeder. “A child predator police officer should not get a break and a pass on state prison. His violation of trust makes his crime more serious not less.”
Deputy District Attorney Robert Mestman argued today in court that this is an aggravated case, arguing that the defendant should be denied probation and sentenced to the upper term. The defendant violated a position of trust and used his knowledge, experience, and training as a peace officer to assist in committing this crime and in avoiding detection. The defendant has not taken responsibility for his conduct and that it is clear from the other evidence recovered during the investigation, this case was not an isolated incident. He further argued that the defendant’s crime involved planning and thought; it was not a spur of the moment mistake. The prosecutor also stated that it was abundantly clear that if the undercover decoy in this case was a real 13-year-old girl, Deck would have molested her. Deck, of all people, should have known the consequences of these actions, yet his sexual desires for a 13-year-old girl were too powerful to control. The prosecutor concluded that the defendant is a sexual predator who deserves to be imprisoned in state prison for the maximum term allowable under law.
Beginning Feb. 12, 2006, Deck initiated contact and engaged in sexually explicit conversations over the Internet with a person he believed to be a 13-year-old girl. The defendant was actually communicating with an adult citizen volunteer from Perverted-Justice.com, a non-profit organization aimed at protecting children from Internet sexual predators. Over several days, Deck had numerous online and phone conversations with a woman who told him she was a 13-year-old girl. He inquired if the girl liked older men, made graphic sexual statements and sexually suggestive comments about eating pie, and arranged to meet the “victim” in Laguna Beach.