In an age where technology rules the day – for law enforcement officials and for average citizens – Facebook and other social media sites have come to be fruitful places for evidence against individuals who have been accused of inappropriate conduct with minors. The latest of these cases comes from Santa Clara County, where a San Jose police officer has been arrested on two felony counts of this kind – 1) possession of sexually explicit photographs of a minor girl and 2) for communicating with this same minor girl in an attempt to gain sexually explicit photographs.
Anthony “Tony” Fregger has worked for the police department for the last 8 years – in the sexual assault division. It is, therefore, odd that he would subject himself to these kinds of allegations considering that he should know the corresponding laws so well. Nevertheless, in 2010, he began chatting with a minor girl on Facebook, claiming at first to believe that she was over the age of 21 years. Even after having been informed by the minor that she was only 16 years old, Fregger not only continued the conversations with her, but also eventually obtained illegal and sexually explicit photographs and placed them in a file on his computer – labeled with her name. He faces time in state prison (anywhere from 16 months to 8 years) and a maximum fine of $100,000.
Fregger was a case of self-surrender; he does not contest the claims against him. However, if it could have been proven that he was not aware of the girl’s age or that he had no intent or knowledge of the situation, someone in Fregger’s situation could have had the charges dismissed.