Ex-Centcom official pleads guilty in child-sex case

By AMY PAVUK | Orlando Sentinel | Published: January 29, 2013

A former U.S. Central Command official accused of having sexual contact and communications with a boy he met through a military organization pleaded guilty in Orlando federal court Tuesday.

The FBI began investigating Stephen Governale in September, after the parents of a 17-year-old Seminole County boy told agents the U.S. Air Force Reserve lieutenant colonel was sending their son sexual messages on Facebook.

The teen told agents he met Governale, who worked as a civilian protocol officer in Tampa, in 2009 through his Civil Air Patrol affiliation.

According to Governale's plea agreement, Governale invited the teen to attend a conference in Brevard County in September 2010, and they shared a hotel room.

The teen told authorities Governale rented a pornographic movie and they engaged in sexual acts.

In the spring of 2012, Governale took the teen to a function at Patrick Air Force Base. The plea agreement said Governale and the teen again shared a hotel room, rented a pornographic movie, and engaged in a sex act.

Since that meeting, Governale's plea agreement said, almost all of the Facebook contact between the two was sexual in nature.

Governale spoke often about four other people, who are now 19 to 21 years old, with whom Governale indicated he engaged in sexual contact, the court document states.

As part of the FBI's investigation, the teenager gave agents permission to assume his Facebook identity and communicate with Governale.

In those online chats, Governale discussed what he planned to do sexually with the teenager during their next meeting, the plea agreement said.

In most of the chats with the undercover agent, Governale directed him to delete the chat after they were done so no one could learn what occurred.

Governale was arrested Sept. 26. He pleaded guilty to one count of attempted enticement of a minor to engage in a sexual activity.

He faces 10 years to life in prison and will be sentenced in June.


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