U.S. Forest Service firefighter charged after allegedly groping 12-year-old girl in Newport Beach; officials seek more victims

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Jacob Daniel Carothers, 38, of San Jacinto, is seen in an undated photo released by the Orange County District Attorney's Office on July 2, 2020.

Jacob Daniel Carothers, 38, of San Jacinto, is seen in an undated photo released by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office on July 2, 2020.

A U.S. Forest Service firefighter was arrested this week after allegedly groping a 12-year-old girl in Newport Beach a month ago, officials said Thursday.

Jacob Daniel Carothers, 38, of San Jacinto, was charged with one felony count of possession of child pornography and two felony counts of a lewd and lascivious act with a child under the age of 14, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said.

On May 29, a woman called Newport Beach police to report that her 12-year-old daughter had been inappropriately grabbed twice by a man, later identified as Carothers, who was riding a bike, officials said. The incident occurred while the girl and two friends were walking in swimwear near the beach at Balboa Peninsula.

Carothers fled the scene on his bike and was found by police in a nearby alley.

An investigation found that he had in his possession a significant amount of pornographic photos and videos depicting children, officials said.

He was arrested Wednesday by Newport Beach Police detectives who had a warrant out for him.

Authorities are asking for the public’s help in identifying any additional potential victims.

Carothers, who has worked as a federal firefighter for the last 16 years, was most recently assigned to the Cleveland National Forest.

He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday and is being held on $100,000 bail. If convicted on all charges, Carothers faces a maximum sentence of 10 years and eight months in prison.

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