OC Sheriff's Deputy Charged with Sex Crime to Stay Locked Up

A bail hearing for an Orange County sheriff's deputy charged with sexually assaulting a child in Wildomar over a two-year period was postponed Wednesday, and the suspect will remain locked up in lieu of $1 million bail.

Wilbert Dale Garcia, 49, faces 76 counts of committing a lewd act on a child under 14, two counts of aggravated sexual assault and one count each of distributing or exhibiting lewd material to a minor and bringing into the state matter depicting child sex.

Riverside Superior Court Judge Judith Clark raised the defendant's bail from $250,000 to $1 million at his arraignment Monday and remanded him into custody.

Garcia had been free on $250,000 bail for about a month. It was unclear whether he would be able to afford bail now.

Clark ordered Garcia, who appeared Wednesday in an orange jail jumpsuit, back to court Tuesday for a bail review hearing and for a previously scheduled felony settlement conference.

A preliminary hearing was tentatively set for May 15.

"We're just trying to treat him like everybody else," Deputy District Attorney Julie Baldwin said outside court.

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The defendant is facing two life terms and $1 million bail was warranted, she said.

Garcia was arrested in an April 3 traffic stop, based on allegations made by a 14-year-old girl weeks before his arrest.

The girl told her father what happened, and he reported it, Baldwin said outside court.

"He is in a position of trust both with the victim and the family," she said.

Garcia is related to the girl by marriage, she said.

The alleged attacks took place in Wildomar, but the defendant is from Murrieta, according to John Hall, with the district attorney's office.

Garcia, an 18-year employee of the Orange County Sheriff's Department, was put on administrative leave pending the outcome of his case.

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