• Air Force officer accused of having relationship with teen


    SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - An Air Force officer is accused of preying on a Seminole County teenager, and FBI agents said they busted him on Facebook.

    Air Force Lt. Col. Stephen Governale was arrested in Seminole County by U.S. marshals.

    FBI investigators said he pursued a relationship with a 17-year-old boy online.

    Governale was an adviser who worked with students in a north Tampa cadet program.

    WFTV's Bianca Castro learned the FBI believes he has other victims. He worked as an Air Force liaison for the north Tampa Civil Air Patrol, which mentors dozens of young boys and girls.

    Governale has been at the Seminole County Jail since last week when he was arrested right before a meeting he thought he was going to have with the 17-year-old, authorities said.

    According to court documents, it was at an Air Force event where Governale met the teenager three years ago.

    The teen's parents contacted the FBI earlier this month after they found explicit Facebook chats between the two, according to agents.

    An FBI investigator posed as the boy online and chatted with Governale. Officials said after the sessions, Governale ordered who he thought was the boy to erase the chats.

    The FBI said Governale then agreed to meet at a local fast food restaurant, but it wasn't the 17-year-old boy who showed up. Instead, FBI agents showed up and arrested him on the spot.

    Investigators said the teen told them he and Governale watched porn and performed sex acts at hotels during Air Force events.

    And he said Governale mentioned at least four other boys he had similar relations with, agents said.

    Governale is married and the father of a daughter, according to Facebook.

    "It opens opportunity for an abuser or a perpetrator to, sort of, find a victim," said Michael Bombka, a mental health therapist for Kids House Of Seminole. "As the social medium grows, we see more and more of it."

    The U.S. attorney's office said its investigation is still ongoing. It will likely reach try to contact potential victims, and Governale could face even more charges, officials said.

    Governale's next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 1.

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