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OC sheriff's deputy charged with sex assault

December 2, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
An Orange County sheriff's deputy was charged with sexually assaulting a teenage girl when he responded to a theft at her family home.Scott Cole is a 14-year veteran of the Orange County Sheriff's Department. While he's officially been charged with one felony count for sexual assault on a minor, the sheriff's deparment says he also violated the public's trust.

"It's a sickening feeling when these allegations are made. Now we have to do a thorough investigation like we would anytime," said Asst. Sheriff Mike James. "The sheriff and the members of this department will not tolerate crime even if that crime is committed by a member of our department."

Cole made his first court appearance Thursday afternoon. He is accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl while on duty. He was responding to the alleged victims house because of a report her mother's jewelry had been stolen.

"While in the victim's house he went into the victim's bedroom. She's 17 years old and he engaged in an act of digital penetration on her while her mother and sister were right next door outside the living room," said Robert Mestman, the Orange County Dep. District Attorney.

As soon as the investigation started back in June, the 41-year-old deputy was placed on administrative leave with pay.

"We were the ones that worked the investigation from the start of the case when we got a notification from a family member. We instantly started working the case within a matter of minutes and today we're bringing the case to justice," said James. "We've been working diligently with the DA's office in getting this case filed. Today they filed the case."

Cole is due back in court Friday to enter a plea to the charge. The prosecution had wanted bail set at $20,000 but the judge instead ordered the deputy released on his own recognizance.


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