A judge recently sentenced 26-year-old Jovanni Argueta, a former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy, to three years in prison, 180 days in jail and five years’ probation for molesting a 12-year-old girl in Costa Mesa in 2015, officials confirmed Monday, according to the O.C. Register.
Argueta pleaded guilty on Jan. 11 to lewd act with a minor, attempted sex with a minor and violation of a protective order. He was sentenced the same day. Unbelievably Argueta’s three-year prison sentence was suspended, according to the OCDA. And another count of contacting a minor with intent to commit a specified crime was dismissed as part of his plea deal.
Argueta must however register as a sex offender for the term of his probation. If Argueta violates probation, he will have to register as a sex offender for life. The court also ordered the ex-deputy to stay away from the now 13-year-old girl for 10 years.
Argueta met the girl via an unidentified online fantasy computer game. He allegedly molested her between May 1 and Oct. 22, 2015, meeting her at her school and off campus.
It was Argueta’s visits to the victim’s schools that led to his downfall. The Costa Mesa Police received a report on Oct. 22, 2015 about a suspicious man seen on the Costa Mesa Middle School campus. The man was gone when the police officers arrived but they later identified him as Argueta. He was arrested by the Costa Mesa Police six days later at a sheriff’s training facility in Whittier.
Then Argueta violated a protective order when he contacted the victim on or about Nov. 23, 2015. He appeared to have been obsessed with her.
Argueta was hired by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on Aug. 21, 2014. But he was no longer working for them by March of 2016 as he apparently quit on March 18, 2016.