|For Immediate Release
April 3, 2008
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
ON-DUTY ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPUTY FOUND DEAD AFTER BEING CHARGED WITH MOLESTING 12-YEAR-OLD BOY HE MET THROUGH BIG BROTHERS OF ORANGE COUNTY FROM 1995 TO 1997
SANTA ANA – An on-duty deputy of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) was found dead yesterday after charges were filed against him for molesting a 12-year-old boy for two years more than a decade ago after meeting the victim and his older brother through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County. Gerald Stenger, 41, Aliso Viejo, was charged yesterday morning with one felony count of lewd acts on a child under 14 and one felony count of continuous sexual abuse with a sentencing enhancement allegation for substantial sexual conduct. He would have faced a maximum sentence of 18 years in state prison if convicted.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) conducted an investigation and obtained information that the defendant may be a suicide risk. Based on that information, the OCDA took precautions to protect the safety of the defendant and other persons, including sealing all case related documents to prevent him from learning about his pending arrest. The OCDA obtained a no bail warrant and worked with the OCSD to coordinate a safe arrest.
OCDA investigators planned to arrest Stenger at the OCSD facilities in Santa Ana yesterday afternoon. At approximately 2:00 p.m. in a parking structure at 26681 Aliso Creek Drive in Aliso Viejo, Stenger was found with a single gun shot wound to the head in the driver’s seat of an unmarked Crown Victoria patrol car. OCSD deputies had responded to the scene regarding an anonymous call about a suspicious vehicle. OCSD requested the Orange County Fire Authority respond, who pronounced Stenger dead at the scene.
The OCDA is continuing to investigate the cause of Stenger’s death. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to call supervising District Attorney Investigator Clint McCall at (714) 347-8814.