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California detective allegedly sent graphic photos to decoy

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California police detective allegedly sent graphic messages to a decoy pretending to be a 14-year-old girl and some of the communications occurred while he was on duty, prosecutors said Tuesday.

The civilian decoy contacted Orange County Crime Stoppers and reported that a person claiming to be a 45-year-old police officer had sent them inappropriate messages in December and January, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said Tuesday.

Santa Ana Police Detective Gregory Beaumarchais allegedly also created a second social media account after a technology platform revoked his original access, prosecutors said.

Beaumarchais, 43, turned himself in Tuesday. He is charged with one misdemeanor count of annoying or molesting a victim believed to be under the age of 18. It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

Beaumarchais, a member of the police department since 2011, has been on administrative leave since mid-December, when the agency was notified of his alleged conduct.

“Our Department will not tolerate inappropriate behavior or alleged criminal conduct that infringes on the trust provided by the community we are hired to serve,” Santa Ana Police Chief Chief David Valentin said in a news release.

Beaumarchais faces up to a year in jail and would have to register as a sex offender if convicted.

“It is beyond disturbing that a sworn police officer would engage in inappropriate conversations with someone he believed to be a child,” District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a news release. “Our children should not have to worry about being preyed upon by the very people we teach them who are there to protect them.”

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