San Diego

DA: Deputy Accused of Groping Teen Used Work Computer to Get Victim's Info

Timothy Wilson, Jr., a 10-year veteran of the department, faces one count of felony lewd act on a child

A San Diego County sheriff's deputy was ordered held on $200,000 bail on charges he groped a teenage girl at a restaurant in Vista.

The deputy, who worked at the Vista jail, is accused of using his workplace computer to access information on the sheriff's department investigation including the home address of the victim and images of her taken at the scene of the incident, prosecutors said in court Tuesday.

Timothy Wilson Jr., 32, was taken into custody at the Vista Detention Facility last week and booked into the San Diego Central Jail on one count of a felony lewd act on a child.

He faces an additional felony count of accessing a computer to take data, prosecutors said.

Wilson pleaded not guilty when he appeared Tuesday in front of a judge in a Vista courtroom.

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Angela De Paula
Timothy Wilson, Jr. appears in court on Tuesday, May 22, 2018.

He's accused of an incident that involved a 14-year-old girl standing in line at a Panda Express restaurant in Vista Village on March 21.

The victim said a man walked behind her and grabbed her inappropriately.

By the time she turned around, she said the suspect was nearly out of the building.

A surveillance camera positioned above the entrance of the restaurant showed how the man walked in and took his place in line. 

He stood with both hands in his pockets for about 15 seconds before he was seen taking a step forward and reaching out with his left arm and apparently grabbing the victim out of the frame.

Within seconds the suspect left. He ran to a black sedan parked in front of the store and drove off.

Wilson allegedly used his unique username and login to the sheriff’s database to access information on the investigation, prosecutors said.

“He did so on repeated occasions numbering 44 times between March 22, 2018 and May 9, 2018 when the search was conducted on the database itself,” the prosecutor said.

On the first page of the department-issued notepad, he had written the case number, the charge and the home address of the victim, prosecutors said.

Wilson also went so far as to download photos of the victim onto his personal cell phone and labeled them with the file name “white pants” and emailed them to himself. 

A sheriff’s employee alerted supervisors on May 9 that he believed the suspect to be Wilson, Sheriff Bill Gore said.

When asked why it took a month for the department to find the suspect in its own ranks, Gore said the employee reported his suspicions on the same day he saw the video.

"When we think that we've heard it all, there's just more," Jenna Tanais, the victim's mother, said. "She's just trying to process it as a teenager. I can't even imagine."

A judge issued a protective order to keep Wilson away from the victim if he bails out of jail. If convicted on all charges, he could serve nearly 4 years in prison.

Wilson is a 10-year veteran of the department. In his role as a detentions deputy at the Vista jail, he's responsible for the care and custody of people in custody. 

His defense attorney said Wilson is a father to a 12-year-old girl. He attended SDSU and worked his way through school with a degree in criminal justice.

He served for 10 years without incident, his attorney said. He is currently on non-paid administrative leave.

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