A San Diego County sheriff’s deputy who flies the department’s helicopter has been accused of soliciting a prostitute at a local motel at the center of a recent prostitution investigation.
NBC 7 San Diego has obtained court documents that show Deputy Stuart Rea, 48, was charged with one count of agreeing to engage in an act of prostitution in January.
According to court documents, Rea allegedly solicited a prostitute just before 5 p.m. on Jan. 23 at the Howard Johnson motel located at 1631 Hotel Circle South in Mission Valley.
He was arrested by undercover SDPD vice unit officers right outside the motel, court documents confirm.
The motel is a well-documented problem spot for law enforcement officers who have been cracking down on prostitution there, with at least 18 prostitution-related arrests – including Rea’s arrest – since late 2011.
Just two weeks ago, NBC 7 reported that the City of San Diego had ordered the owner of the Howard Johnson motel to crack down on prostitution activity. As a result of a legal settlement, the Howard Johnson was fined and ordered to add a 24-hour security guard, install more security cameras, post signs warning of criminal activity and change the motel's check-in policy.
According to City Attorney Jan Goldsmith’s office, an investigation was launched into the activity at the motel after San Diego police made those 18 prostitution-related arrests over the course of about one year.
The manager of the motel told NBC 7 they had implemented the changes ordered by the city in December 2012, and no longer had prostitution problems. However, that wasn’t the case, as Rea was busted by police in late January.
Rea – who has been with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department since 1991 – is now on paid administrative assignment as a result of the criminal investigation.
An attorney for the pilot tells NBC 7 they’re handling the situation and called the accusations against Rea a minor matter. Rea’s misdemeanor arraignment is set for next week.