Santa Clara corrections deputy arrested on child molestation charge

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SANTA CLARA (KTVU) -- A Santa Clara corrections deputy has been arrested and is facing charges in connection with the molestation of a 9-year-old girl in East San Jose, authorities said Tuesday.

Investigators said Anthony Felix Diaz, 33, was taken into custody Monday and booked into the Santa Clara County jail. He was being held Tuesday at the Santa Rita jail, authorities said. No bail has been set. Diaz is due in court on Thursday. 

Investigators said the incidents occurred in the spring of 2012 when Diaz lived with the victim and her mother on Cedar Lane. 

Investigators said in a written statement that they began investigating after finding out about the allegation. It was not immediately clear who reported the incident. 

"The Sheriff's Office has high expectations of every Correctional Deputy's conduct, both on and off duty" Sheriff Laurie Smith said in a written statement. "The allegations are deeply disturbing. If they are true this Correctional Deputy did not meet the standards of our office and he must be held accountable for his actions."

The Santa Clara County Correctional Peace Officers Association also issued a statement stating they condemn such heinous acts.

"Unfortunately things like this happen," said Neighbor Lyndsey Garza. "It's shocking to hear it happened so close to home."

"It's pretty scary, things like this can go on and we don't even know about it," said Neighbor Katrina Najera.

Diaz who now lives in Santa Clara and was arrested on one count of sex with a minor and two felony counts of child abuse. He had more than seven years experience as a correctional officer, working in both Elmwood jail in Milpitas and currently at San Jose's Main Jail. On Diaz's Facebook page, he's wearing a military uniform with comments thanking him for his service.

"I think it doesn't matter what position you are in," said Lyndsey Garza. "If something is going to happen it's going to happen, unfortunately. You'd like to think they are one of the good guys."

It's another bad mark on the Santa Clara County jail system, scrutinized after three correctional officers were charged with murdering a mentally ill inmate back in August. Two other correctional deputies were arrested in October for using a criminal database for personal use, and for workers' compensation fraud.

Authorities were asking anyone with information about the incident to call investigators at 408-277-4102.