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Hollister
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May 25, 2022

Former officer suspected of fondling girl in patrol car

Macario Venegas, 30, had been serving eight months on the job
before the suspected incident and

separated

from the department Thursday, according to a press release from
Police Chief Jeff Miller, who noted how his department immediately
launched a criminal investigation when the complaint was made.
HOLLISTER

Hollister police today arrested a former first-year officer accused of fondling a 16-year-old girl in a patrol car while on duty Nov. 30.

Macario Venegas, 30, had been serving eight months on the job before the suspected incident and “separated” from the department Thursday, according to a press release from Police Chief Jeff Miller, who noted how his department immediately launched a criminal investigation Tuesday evening when the complaint was made.

Hollister police are recommending a single misdemeanor charge of annoying or molesting a child under 18. Venegas was booked at the San Benito County Jail with bail set at $6,000.

The maximum sentence for the recommended charge, if convicted, is one year in county jail and a $1,000 fine, according to the California Penal Code.

“When the matter came to our attention, we moved swiftly to protect the public and the investigation,” Miller told the Free Lance.

Miller confirmed the suspected fondling occurred while Venegas was on duty for the department, but the chief declined to comment on what led to the juvenile’s presence in the patrol car and specific evidence gathered before the arrest. He also declined to comment on Venegas’ prior employment history, citing personnel law.

“As the head of the department, we are upset and disappointed whenever anything like this happens,” Miller said.

The allegation arose to police when they received a call Tuesday evening from a resident reporting the crime, he said.

Police learned of the fondling allegation and that Venegas was the identified officer, but Miller declined to comment when asked whether Venegas had admitted to the crime.

The police department’s investigator presented the case to the San Benito District Attorney’s Office today, then obtained a complaint and a warrant, which officers served immediately, according to the press statement.

District Attorney Candice Hooper could not be reached immediately before press time.

This exclusive story is developing. Look back shortly for updates.

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