Riverside County officials said Thursday that multiple options are being considered in potentially replacing the longtime grounds coordinator of the annual Fair & National Date Festival in Indio due to his recent arrest in a prostitution sting.
Ronald Frederick Dye, 72, of Murrieta, a retired Riverside County sheriff's administrator, was among seven men allegedly snared in a sheriff's undercover operation on Jan. 9 in Temecula. He was arrested on suspicion of soliciting.
Dye has been the on-site operations coordinator for the Date Fest since 2009, according to the county Executive Office.
"The county is reviewing all available options related to (Dye's) contract," EO spokeswoman Brooke Federico told City News Service.
Email requests for comment from Dye were not immediately answered.
The festival will be held Feb. 14-23.
According to sheriff's Sgt. Robert Menchaca, the "John" prostitution sting involved an undercover female deputy playing the role of a street walker, seeing whether men driving or walking by might approach her with a request for sex.
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Dye was one of the individuals who allegedly propositioned her, Menchaca said. The exact circumstances were not disclosed.
He was booked into the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta, but posted a $2,500 bond and was released within an hour or two.
According to the Executive Office, Dye attained the rank of chief deputy sheriff and spent 35 years with the sheriff's department before retiring in the 2000s.
Public records indicate he headed one of the sheriff's stations in the Coachella Valley and was named as a defendant in a federal lawsuit stemming from deputies harassing Cabazon Band of Mission Indians public safety officers.
According to the suit, reservation cops were being stopped and ticketed for using their overhead light bars while responding to calls that briefly took them off reservation roads and onto county streets. The tribe argued it was discriminatory.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2004 ruled in favor of the tribe.