AF Officer Charged After Facebook Chats With Teen


An Air Force Reserve lieutenant colonel was arrested Monday after he exchanged sexually-charged Facebook chats with a 17-year-old boy, court documents show.

The parents of the teen contacted the FBI in Maitland on Sept. 11 to report the inappropriate messages between their son and Stephen "Steve" Governale, a protocol officer at MacDill Air Fore Base in Tampa.

The boy told agents he met Governale, 49, in October 2009 through a group affiliated with the military. Governale invited the boy in September 2010 to attend a conference in Brevard County, and the two stayed together in a hotel room, documents state.

Governale, a protocol officer, and the boy watched a pornographic movie, shared a bed and engaged in sexual conduct, according to the government. Governale assured the boy that what they were doing "was not gay," paperwork states.

Last spring, Governale picked the boy up in Seminole County and drove him to a function at Patrick Air Force Base in Brevard, the teen told investigators. The two again stayed together in a hotel and engaged in similar behavior, prosecutors said.

Since then, they have communicated via Facebook. On Sept. 12, the boy's parents gave FBI agents permission to pretend to be their son on the social network.

Governale engaged in explicit chats with agents in Orange and Volusia counties. In one exchange, an agent wrote that he was 17 and in school, a transcript shows. Governale asked the "boy" to erase the chats.

Governale was arrested Friday when agents say he went to pick up the teenager at an undisclosed location.

He was being held without bail Monday at the Seminole County Jail on a charge of using the Internet to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity.

Governale is a married father of a daughter who went to high school and college in Washington State, according to his Facebook page.

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