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Former sheriff's deputy convicted of molesting teen

A former San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy was convicted Wednesday of molesting a teenage girl participating in the department's youth Explorer program, prosecutors said.

A jury found Nathan James Gastineau, 33, guilty of 16 felony counts related to having sexual intercourse, as well as performing lewd acts with a minor, in addition to a single count of possessing child pornography, according to prosecutors and court records.

The jury reached its verdict after about three hours of deliberation.

Gastineau, a resident of Redlands, is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 28. He was taken into custody despite an attempt by his lawyers to allow him to remain free on bond, prosecutors said.

He could face up to 13 years in prison.

Gastineau was arrested in 2011. The underage girl was participating in the Explorer program, which is designed for youths between the ages of 14 and 21 to learn more about law enforcement and potential careers in the field. 

Gastineau had been a 10-year veteran of the department, stationed in Highland. He was placed on leave at the time of his arrest and subsequently resigned from the department. 

Later, his bail was raised to $350,000 from $150,000 after Gastineau allegedly wrote about "revenge, payback" on a Facebook page for his supporters, a posting that was discovered by the girl's father and brought to the judge's attention. At the time, Gastineau said he was quoting a television show. 

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rick.rojas@latimes.com

Twitter: @rar

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