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Manhattan Beach police officer charged with sending explicit messages to 15-year-old girl

A Manhattan Beach police officer has been charged with two felony counts after allegedly sending explicit messages to a 15-year-old girl, officials announced Wednesday.

John Cheatham 33, was charged on Feb. 25 with two counts of contacting a minor for a sexual offense and a misdemeanor count of annoying or molesting a child, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

He is accused of sending the victim “numerous sexually explicit messages through social media sites” between November 2019 and June 2020, officials said in a news release.

Cheatham met the victim sometime in 2019 when she went to the Manhattan Police Department’s headquarters to report a crime, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“Instead of providing assistance and support to the victim, this officer is alleged to have abused his authority when she was most vulnerable,” District Attorney George Gascón said in the news release. “If officers break the law they were sworn to uphold, they will be held accountable for their actions by my office.”

Authorities did not elaborate on the victim nor her contact with Cheatham.

Cheatham was hired by the department in October 2018, according to the agency’s Facebook page.

He is scheduled to be arraigned on June 24.

The case is being investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department.