California 'Detective of the Year' busted sexting what he believed to be a 14-year-old girl: report
A man in handcuffs (Shutterstock)

On Wednesday, The Daily Beast reported that a Southern California police officer who received a "Detective of the Year" award in 2019 faces charges after sending lewd messages to a person he believed was a 14-year-old girl.

In reality, he had been texting an online decoy set up to catch predators.

"Gregory Daniel Beaumarchais, 43, now faces a misdemeanor charge of annoying or molesting a victim believed to be under 18, Orange County District Attorney officials said Tuesday," reported Dan Ladden-Hall.

"It is beyond disturbing that a sworn police officer would engage in inappropriate conversations with someone he believed to be a child," Orange County district attorney Todd Spitzer said in announcing charges against Beaumarchais. "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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According to the report, "An investigation into Beaumarchais was launched when the online decoy alerted O.C. Crime Stoppers to the graphic messages they’d been sent by someone saying they were a cop."

Beaumarchais faces a maximum of one year in jail and registration as a sex offender, if the charges are proven.

This comes amid other disturbing reports around the country of sexual misconduct by law enforcement officials. In June, an 81-year-old sheriff's deputy in Walker County, Georgia was charged with raping a woman while on duty and in uniform.