A 44-year-old psychologist with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was charged Monday with multiple counts of child molestation in connection with alleged assaults on a young boy and girl.
Michael Dane Ward was charged with a total of 10 felonies, including four counts of lewd act on a child, two counts of forcible lewd act on a child under 14, three counts of forcible oral copulation or sexual penetration with a child 10 years old or younger and one count of sexual intercourse or sodomy with a child 10 years or younger, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
The boy was 9 when the alleged abuse occurred between August 2014 and March 31, 2016, the DA’s office stated.
The alleged abuse of the 10-year-old girl took place between August 2015 and March 31, 2016, prosecutors said.
If convicted as charged, Ward faces up to life in state prison, according to the DA’s office.
The defendant is a non-sworn employee of the Sheriff’s Department who was “relieved of duty” on May 5 pending the outcome of the criminal investigation, the department said in a brief statement.
“We find these allegations deeply troubling. These allegations were not as a result of contacts he made within the scope of his work with the Sheriff’s Department,” the statement read.
Prosecutors had planned to ask that Ward’s bail be set at $2.6 million.