Officer Tony Fregger, 33, an eight-year veteran, turned himself in this evening to San Jose police who arrested him in connection with possessing sexual photos of a minor and communicating with the purpose of obtaining the photos, Deputy District Attorney David Ezgar said.
Fregger was released after posting $75,000 bail and his arraignment will take place July 22 in Santa Clara County Superior Court in San Jose, Ezgar said.
Fregger, who joined the San Jose Police Department in 2005 and worked for the Sexual Assault Investigation Unit from March 21, 2010, to this past March 16, has been placed on administrative leave, district attorney's office spokesman Sean Webby said.
"Mr. Fregger was engaged in investigating these crimes against minors and he engaged in one," Ezgar said.
The sexual assault unit officer first contacted the teen girl, who is not being named, in 2010 and communicated with her primarily by phone and online, Ezgar said.
On Jan. 26, 2011, the teenaged "Jane Doe" informed Fregger in a post on Facebook that she was 17 when she was in fact only 16 years old, according to a statement of probable cause filed by Internal Affairs Unit police Sgt. Johnson Fong.
The girl's post read, "I'm 17 and my birthday's in February."
In a reply sent soon afterwards, Fregger allegedly wrote, "You' 17!? Oh man, I thought u were like 21! LOL."
Fregger's personal email exchanges with the girl on Jan. 29, 2011, revealed she sent two photos of her genitalia, Ezgar said.
Prosecutors claim that the officer requested the nude images of her from Jan. 26 to Feb. 20 of that year knowing she was underage.
State law prohibits adults from either requesting or obtaining sexually explicit images of a person under 18, Ezgar said.
"He was specifically informed she was a minor and forged ahead and obtained sexually explicit photos of her," Ezgar said.
San Jose police launched an investigation this year and on May 10 served search warrants, obtaining Fregger's personal computer in San Jose, according to Fong.
Police officers located photos of the girl on the computer inside a folder under her name, according to Fong.
Police also used a web service company based in Santa Clara County to search his online communications where they also found the sexually explicit photos, Fong reported.
Ezgar declined to say how police were tipped off about the officer.
He praised the Police Department, which he said "presented the evidence to us."
"They worked hard on this case," Ezgar said.