Former police officer convicted in molestation case

Deepa Bharath

SANTA ANA -- A jury convicted a former Long Beach police officer

Tuesday of 11 charges of molesting a 14-year-old boy he met in an

Internet chat room and then lured to his Costa Mesa apartment.

The jury deliberated for barely two hours before finding Michael

McDonald, 61, guilty of three counts of oral copulation, two counts of

sodomy and three counts of child abduction.

He was also convicted of one count of showing child pornography to a

minor with the intent of seducing him, possessing child pornography with

the intent of distributing it to young people, and one misdemeanor count

of possessing child pornography.

McDonald, who left the Long Beach Police Department in 1972, faces

more than 43 years in prison, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Jana Hoffmann, who

prosecuted the case.

Defense attorney Frederick McBride declined to comment about the case.

Hoffmann said McDonald met the boy, a resident of Garden Valley in

Northern California, via the Internet.

"It went from chatting on the Internet to phone conversations," she

said. "The boy indicated he wanted to run away."

Hoffmann said the boy left home three times and stayed with McDonald

in October 2000, November 2000 and again in January. The first two times,

he went back home, either by bus or was dropped off by McDonald, she

said.

The last time, however, the boy's parents and police tracked the boy

to McDonald's Costa Mesa home. The parents told police about e-mail

correspondence between their son and McDonald in their computer.

McDonald was arrested by Costa Mesa police Jan. 12. Officers also

found the boy with him at the time.

Hoffmann said the boy testified against McDonald but said he still

cared about him.

Hoffmann said this case was especially disturbing for her because it

involved a former police officer.

"Here is this person supposed to be the keeper of peace," she said.

"But he is evil in disguise."

Hoffmann said McDonald was tried on two other molestation cases in the

1980s but was not convicted on either.

"I regret [the conviction] didn't happen then," she said. "It would

have prevented one other boy from becoming a victim."

McDonald is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 8.

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