Charges filed in department’s youth program sex scandal

Nathan Gastineau, 31, a former sheriff’s deputy from Redlands, will face three counts of lewd acts upon a child

SAN BERNARDINO – A former San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy and another man were charged Friday with several felony counts relating to inappropriate sexual relations with a teenage girl from Redlands.

On Monday, court records showed that both men will next appear in San Bernardino Superior Court for arraignment on June 27.

Nathan Gastineau, 31, a former sheriff’s deputy from Redlands, will face three counts of lewd acts upon a child along with three counts of unlawful sexual intercourse, the county District Attorney’s Office announced in a news release.

Jason Aguiano, 27, of Rialto, is being charged with two counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object and one count of unlawful sexual intercourse.

Both men were arrested in April, posted $25,000 in bail and were released pending the charges that were filed last week.

Gastineau was a coordinator for the sheriff’s department Explorer program at the Highland sheriff’s substation. The female victim was a member of that program. He had been a patrolman responsible for day-to-day operations of the Explorer post. Each of the county’s 14 stations runs an Explorer post for teens, a program that introduces them to police work.

Investigators suspect the sex acts occurred while the victim, who is 17 years old, was on ride-alongs with the deputy.

Sheriff Rod Hoops suspended the Explorer program for 60 days due to the incident, along with a similar one that occurred at a different county station.

Sheriff’s department spokeswoman Jodi Miller confirmed that both Gastineau and Aguiano are accused of having sex with the same girl. Anguiano is not connected to law enforcement or the Explorer’s program, but a motel receipt linking him to the girl was reportedly obtained at his Rialto home.

Miller said deputies from the sheriff’s Crimes Against Children Detail identified Aguiano as a suspect while investigating the allegations against Gastineau.

“It’s part of the same investigation,” she said. “He’s not connected to the sheriff’s department in any way, nor is he connected to the Highland Explorer post.”

Gastineau, who has been a deputy for about 10 years, was placed on administrative leave, but last week it was announced that Gastineau is no longer with the sheriff’s department. He has reportedly accepted another job in an undisclosed field. It was not revealed whether he resigned or was fired.

In May, the Explorer’s program came under fierce scrutiny following these revelations, along with another similar incident in the high desert community of Victorville. Deputy Anthony Benjamin, 30, was arrested and placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of that case. He was released on $100,000 bail and charged earlier this month.


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