SANTA ANA (CBS) — An Orange County sheriff’s deputy was charged Thursday with sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl while on duty.

Scott Cole, 41, of Hesperia, could face up to three years in prison if convicted of a felony count of sexual penetration by a foreign object of a minor, said Deputy District Attorney Robert Mestman.

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Cole made his initial appearance this afternoon before an Orange County judge, who postponed the defendant’s arraignment until tomorrow morning and released him on his own recognizance.

The teen’s mother called sheriff’s deputies on June 23 to report that some of her jewelry was stolen from her residence in unincorporated Orange County near Tustin, Mestman said.

Cole, who responded to the call, first spoke to the girl’s mother and sister in the living room and later allegedly told the 17-year-old, who was in her bedroom, to take off her clothes, Mestman said.

He left the bedroom to speak again to the mother and her other daughter for a few minutes before he returned to the girl’s bedroom and closed the door, the prosecutor alleged.

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While in the bedroom, Cole is accused of digitally penetrating the girl, Mestman said.

“She was in shock when it happened,” he said.

The mother and sister “thought it was suspicious he was in there alone with the door closed,” the prosecutor said.

Once Cole left, the girl told her mother what allegedly happened.

Cole, who has been on paid administrative leave since June, has been with the department for 14 years, according to John McDonald, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

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