A former Lompoc police volunteer is behind bars on Tuesday, and facing multiple counts of child molestation charges.
67-year-old Anthony Michael Durham was taken into custody by Lompoc police Tuesday afternoon after officers were made aware of a crime against children. After a preliminary investigation, officers determined there was probably cause to arrest Durham.
"I think everybody was caught off guard by what the allegations were", says Lompoc Police Sgt. Kevin Martin.
"Once we were made aware of the allegations detectives were immediately called in, they responded, they interviewed Mr. Durham and based on that interview, they made the determination to place him under arrest", Sgt Martin says about Durham's arrest.
Durham was booked at Santa Barbara County Jail with bail set at $1 million dollars.
Lompoc Police Sgt. Kevin Martin says Tony Durham passed mandatory background checks that allowed him to serve as a Lompoc Police Department volunteer and says the public should not be swayed by his arrest.
"They need to have complete trust in our process, we do the best job that we can do as a police department to make sure we have the best people associated with the department", Martin says, "whether they are a full time employee or a volunteer, there's absolutely no reason to mistrust that process whatsoever."
Durham also served as a temporary, appointed Lompoc City Councilman and was declared Lompoc Man of the Year in 2008.
On Tuesday, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office announced it was charging Durham with 17 counts of child molestation that include: 14 counts of Sexual Contact with a child 10 years or younger, and three counts of Lewd or Lascivious Act with a child under 14 years old.
Durham faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if he's found guilty on these charges.
Durham made his first appearance in Lompoc court Tuesday afternoon but did not enter a plea to the charges against him. He will return to Lompoc Court in two weeks for formal arraignment.
The Lompoc Police Department is asking anyone with additional information on this case, including knowledge of additional victims, contact Det. Lamar with the Lompoc Police Department at 805-736-2341 ext. 8120.