LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A 22-year decorated Sheriff’s Department veteran, who’s accused of having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl whose family he knew socially, pleaded not guilty yesterday to multiple counts of child molestation.
Babakhan told the judge that Rose came from a tradition of public service. His father worked for the Pasadena Police Department, while his uncle is a retired Los Angeles Police Department officer.
Prosecutors allege that John Augustus Rose II, 43, began a sexual relationship with the teen in March, and it continued through June. Authorities were contacted earlier this month, after a friend of the girl talked to her own family about what was allegedly going on, prompting a call to the teen’s father and, ultimately, police.
Rose is facing 17 felony counts — four counts of committing a lewd act on a child, six counts of penetration by a foreign object, five counts of oral copulation of a person under 16 and one count each of contact with a minor for sexual offense and possession of matter depicting a minor engaging in sexual conduct.
Defense attorney Sharon Babakhan unsuccessfully asked Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Shelly Torrealba to release Rose on his own recognizance, without setting bail.
“He was a hero to the community. He has received many awards,” she said of her client, whose honors include a Medal of Valor for rescuing a woman trapped in her cabin by the 2002 Curve fire in San Gabriel Canyon.
Babakhan argued that no threats or violence are alleged, and also cited Rose’s community and family ties, including a girlfriend who was sitting in the downtown courtroom and his 14-year-old son.
“No one has more interest in this case than Mr. Rose,” Babakhan said. “He wants to get back to his normal life and he wants to clear his name.”
Deputy District Attorney Rosa Alarcon argued for bail of more than a half-million dollars, telling the judge that Rose had driven the girl to a “secluded business location” on seven separate occasions.
“He violated a position of trust, not only as a police officer” but as a friend of the girl’s family, Alarcon said. “He pursued her and her mother entrusted her to him.”
Alarcon alleged that the deputy sent the girl nude photos of himself and of her engaged in sexual conduct and later asked her to lie and say he had sent them to his son.
Torrealba set bail at $605,000.
“I do find that you are a danger to the community,” Torrealba told the defendant, who was dressed in yellow jail clothes.
The judge also issued a protective order barring Rose from making any contact with the teen and requiring him to give up any firearms he owns within 48 hours of his release, among other conditions.
Rose was placed on unpaid leave after his arrest Thursday, pending the outcome of his case. If convicted, he faces more than 13 years in state prison.
Rose’s father also ran a company that cared for more than 120 children, Babakhan said, apparently referring to some sort of foster care services firm. The lawyer said Rose grew up around those youngsters and that there was never any impropriety or concern.
The deputy is due back in court Sept. 27, when a date will be set for a hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to order him to stand trial.
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