JOSHUA TREE, CA (CBSLA) – A veteran California Highway Patrol officer was arrested Friday on suspicion of child molestation and sexual misconduct.
Robert Stephano, 44, is accused of soliciting minors for sex acts dating back to July 2010, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
Stephano, who has been with CHP for 12 years and assigned to the Morongo Basin Station, has been charged with arranging to meet with a minor to commit a sex crime, lewd and lascivious acts with a child between 14 and 15 years old and communicating with a minor with the intent to commit a sex crime.
In May, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department investigators were contacted by the Morongo Basin Station regarding allegations of sexual misconduct and child molestation against Stephano.
Detectives with the Specialized Investigations Division assumed the investigation. Two victims have been identified as girls ages 14 and 17.
Stephano volunteered as an assistant softball coach for a Morongo Basin recreational league and assisted youth groups for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Stephano was arrested in Twentynine Palms by the department’s Specialized Enforcement Detail. His bail is set at $250,000.
Anyone with information regarding the case, or who has been solicited by Stephano, is encouraged to contact the Specialized Investigations Division Detective James Tebbetts at 909-387-3589. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call 1-800-WeTip or visit http://www.wetip.com.