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Crime News Breaking News

California 'Detective Of The Year' Accused Of Sending Graphic Images To Decoy Posing As 14-Year-Old Girl

Santa Ana police officer Gregory Daniel Beaumarchais is facing one count of annoying or molesting a victim believed to be under the age of 18.

By Jill Sederstrom
A police handout of Gregory Beaumarchais

A California police officer, once named “Detective of the Year,” has been accused of sending “graphic images” to a civilian decoy he believed was a 14-year-old girl.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced the arrest Tuesday of Gregory Daniel Beaumarchais, 43, who is now facing one count of annoying or molesting a victim believed to be under the age of 18 after authorities said he sent some of the “inappropriate communication” while on duty with the Santa Ana Police Department.

“Police officers are entrusted with the sacred responsibility to safeguard society from harm,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “It is beyond disturbing that a sworn police officer would engage in inappropriate conversations with someone he believed to be a child. Our children should not have to worry about being preyed upon by the very people we teach them who are there to protect them.”

Santa Ana Police reportedly received a notification of “potential criminal conduct” involving Beaumarchais on Dec. 17, according to a statement from police.

Once the department’s Internal Affairs Unit determined the matter was “criminal in nature” they referred the allegations to the appropriate local and federal authorities, who launched a criminal investigation into the matter.

With the help of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, authorities determined that Beaumarchais had been communicating with a civilian decoy pretending to be a 14-year-old girl, proseuctors said.

He had allegedly described himself as a “45-year-old police officer” and sent the civilian “graphic images” between December 2021 and January 2022. After access to his social media platform had been restricted by the provider, authorities say the detective created another account under a similar social media handle to continue talking to the suspected teen.

“Today’s filing of criminal charges for showing sexual interest in children shows no one is above the law when it comes to keeping communities free from predators,” said Shawn Gibson, acting Special Agent in Charge at HSI Los Angeles. “HSI is grateful for the collaboration with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to get these predators out of our communities and into the justice system.”

Santa Ana Police said Beaumarchais—who has been with the department since 2011—has been placed on administrative leave, where he will remain until the completion of the criminal and administrative investigations.

“Misconduct, of any type, negatively impacts the commitment to public service demonstrated by the overwhelming majority of our officers,” Chief David Valentin said. “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.  We will ensure a complete, thorough and objective administrative investigation is conducted immediately following the conclusion of the criminal case.”

Beaumarchais had been named the Santa Ana Police Detective of the Year in 2019, according to a tweet last year from the department.

He helped form the department’s Major Enforcement Team in 2020, which was tasked with responding to high-priority criminal incidents, according to The Los Angeles Times.

If convicted, Beaumarchais will have to register as a sex offender and could face up to a year in jail, authorities said.

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