Vice mayor of Northern California town of Paradise charged in underage sex sting

A judge's gavel is shown in a file photo. (Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus)

A judge’s gavel is shown in a file photo. (Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus)

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The vice mayor of a Northern California town devastated by a wildfire in 2018 was charged with allegedly sending sexually explicit text messages and photos to a sheriff’s deputy he believed was a 16-year-old girl, officials said Wednesday.

Michael Zuccolillo, vice mayor of Paradise, turned himself in on Tuesday at the Butte County Jail and was freed after posting $135,000 bail.

He declined comment to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Paradise was decimated by the 2018 Camp Fire, which killed 85 people. It was the deadliest in California history.

Zuccolillo, 41, was elected to the Town Council in 2016.

Zuccolillo allegedly sent sexually explicit text messages and photographs of his genitals to a person he believed to be a 16-year-old girl visiting Sacramento from China but actually was a sheriff’s investigator, authorities said.

He has been charged with communicating and trying to arrange a meeting with a minor in order to engage in lewd and sexual conduct, along with sending harmful material to a minor, the Butte County Sheriff’s Office said.

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