Trial began today in Santa Ana for a retired California Highway Patrol lieutenant charged with attempting to commit unlawful sex acts in Laguna Beach with a fake 13-year-old girl, whom he believed was bonafide, after an online meeting in February 2006.
Twelve other men were also accused in the under-aged sex sting operation that took place in a Laguna Beach apartment. All but one of the other arrestees have been sentenced, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.
Stephen Robert Deck, 54, Carlsbad, is charged with one felony count of attempted lewd acts on a child under 14 and faces a maximum sentence of four years in state prison if convicted, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s office.
Deck is accused of initiating contact and engaging in sexually explicit conversations over the Internet with a person he believed to be a 13-year-old girl beginning Feb. 12, 2006. The defendant was actually communicating with an adult citizen volunteer from Perverted-Justice.com, a non-profit organization aimed at ferreting out Internet sexual predators. Over several days, Deck is accused of having numerous online and phone conversations with a woman who told him she was a 13-year-old girl. He is accused of inquiring if the girl liked older men, making graphic sexual statements and sexually suggestive comments about eating pie, and arranging to meet the “victim” in Laguna Beach.
On Feb. 18, 2006, Deck allegedly drove from San Diego County to Laguna Beach with the intention of committing unlawful sexual acts with the fake 13-year-old. When the suspect arrived at the prearranged location, he allegedly had with him several condoms, a digital camera, and key lime pie. He was arrested upon arrival.
The sting was conducted by the Laguna Beach Police Department, Orange County Department of Probation, and Orange County District Attorney’s Office, with help from Perverted-Justice.com.
All but one of the other arrestees was either convicted at trial or pleaded guilty in the case. A warrant was issued in July 2006 for Norindra Say, 37, of Tustin, who fled after making several court appearances, the district attorney’s office stated. Say is one of the 10 Most Wanted fugitives on the Orange County District Attorney’s website at www.orangecountyda.com.