The alleged relationship began at the L.A. County Sheriff's Cerritos Station, where 36-year-old sheriff deputy Manuel Enrique Perallon Jr., oversaw the Explorer's Program. Authorities say Perallon met the 16-year-old girl through the program and that their relationship began in February 2011 and lasted about 3 months.
"Yesterday he was relieved of duty without pay and if these allegations are proven to be true and he's found guilty, then a termination process may in fact begin," said L.A. County Sheriff spokesman Steve Whitmore.
He says Perallon was put on administrative leave last August after the department got wind of the alleged inappropriate sexual relationship. Since yesterday's arrest, Perallon is out of jail on $70,000 bond.
"You could say it was a rumor but it was something we take seriously so we immediately launched an investigation and that's what resulted in the arrest yesterday,"
Perallon's Pico Rivera neighbors say the 10-year sheriff's dept veteran and former Marine has lived in the community for more than five years with his wife and young daughter.
"That's wrong for him to maybe take advantage of somebody because of his authority," said neighbor Kevin Miller.
Whitmore says the sherrif's department is not standing for the alleged behavior.
"Not only is this illegal, but it's obviously totally unequivocally unacceptable and so the sheriff is focused on this like a laser beam," he said.
He will be arraigned on May 16 on one felony count of oral copulation of a person under 18 and misdemeanor child molesting. If convicted, Perallon faces four years in prison.