SANTA ANA (CBS) — A veteran Orange County sheriff’s deputy faces charges of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl while responding to a burglary call in Tustin.
Scott Cole, 41, of Hesperia, is set to be arraigned Friday. Cole faces up to three years in prison if convicted of a felony count of sexual penetration by a foreign object of a minor, Deputy District Attorney Robert Mestman said.
Cole’s arraignment was postponed and he was released on his own recognizance during his first appearance before Orange County Superior Court Commissioner Richard Pacheco.
Mestman unsuccessfully argued that bail should be set at $20,000.
Cole responded to a call in unincorporated Tustin after the teen’s mother reported some of her jewelry stolen from her home on June 23.
Cole first spoke to the girl’s mother and sister in the living room and later told the 17-year-old, who was in her bedroom, to take off her clothes, Mestman said.
Cole left the bedroom to speak again to the mother and her other daughter for a few minutes before returning to the girl’s bedroom and closing the door. While in the bedroom, Cole digitally penetrated the girl, Mestman said.
“She was in shock when it happened,” Mestman said.
Mestman said the mother and sister “thought it was suspicious he was in there alone with the door closed.”
Once Cole left, the girl told her mother was allegedly happened.
When Cole was arrested in June, he was able to post $100,000 bail, Mestman said. The deputy was re-arrested Thursday morning, the prosecutor said.
Cole, who has been on paid administrative leave since June, has been with the department for 14 years, according to the department’s John McDonald.
Assistant Sheriff Mike James said Cole’s arrest was the result of a “very thorough, five-month-long investigation,” with prosecutors.
“Sheriff (Sandra) Hutchens and the members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department will not tolerate any of our personnel dishonoring our badge,” James said. “The public should be assured that we will use whatever resources are necessary to bring this case to justice.”
(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)