As the comments section to this post shows, at least one person did not believe longtime CHP official Stephen Robert Deck was guilty of trying to have sex with a 13-year-old girl he met online.
"You know, everyone makes mistakes," Teresa writes in her comment posted at 9:49 this morning. "This guy is not a pedaphile [sic]. He wanted to get caught. He knew it was a sting. He was depressed and looking for anyway out. I have know [sic] him for 22 years and I can tell you he is not a child molester. I know how it all sounds but are we not suppose [sic] to be innocent uintil [sic] proven guilty. . . . He deserves a chance. He made a mistake, a big mistake, and he is very very sorry for what he talked about, because he really did not do anything with anyone. . . . God bless you, Steve. You are in our prayers and we love you."
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A seven-man, five-woman jury in Santa Ana saw things differently, convicting the 54-year-old Oceanside resident hours later of attempted lewd act on a child.
R. Scott Moxley introduced readers to Deck in March 2006, about three weeks after the longtime CHP lieutenant was snared by Laguna Beach police and Perverted-Justice.com--a non-profit organization aimed at protecting children from Internet sexual predators--for allegedly trying to have sex with someone he met online he believed to be a 13-year-old girl. The "girl" was actually an undercover officer who waited for Deck at a Laguna Beach park.
He had driven 45 miles for a rendezvous, bringing along several condoms, a digital camera and a piece of key lime pie.
Deck could get up to four years in prison at his Jan. 22 sentencing in Santa Ana and be forced to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.The Orange County Register reports the former lawman was handcuffed and taken into custody after the jury handed down its verdict.