Gastineau

Gastineau says it wasn’t a threat
Mike Cruz, Staff Writer
Posted: 08/02/2011 06:19:46 PM PDT

Former sheriff’s Deputy Nathan Gastineau, who is accused of having sex with a 16-year-old police Explorer, found himself back in jail Tuesday after prosecutors accused him of posting a threatening message on Facebook.

Judge John Martin questioned Gastineau, 31, of Redlands, about the message, which spoke of revenge and payback, before raising his bail to $350,000 at a hearing in San Bernardino Superior Court.

Gastineau, who had been free on a $150,000 bail bond, was handcuffed by a bailiff and escorted from the courtroom. As of 5 p.m., he was still in custody, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

The message had been posted to a Facebook group page called “Gastineau Support.” Martin read the message aloud in court, and photocopies were later given to the news media.

“This is your Admiral,” Gastineau’s message begins. “I know there’ve been a lot of rumors going around about the destruction that’s been visited on my life. I would like to tell you that they’re exaggerations, but in fact it cannot even come close to convey the horror that’s been unleashed.”

Gastineau’s message suggests that running and hiding are the easy choices, but it then quotes an unnamed “philosopher” as saying that when faced with untenable alternatives, face your imperative.

“War is our imperative,” the message said. “And if right now victory seems like an impossibility, then we have something else to reach for: revenge, payback. So we will fight. Because in the end, it’s the only alternative my enemy has left us.”

The judge pushed Gastineau for answers.

“What on Earth is the matter with you?” Martin asked.

Gastineau responded that he had referenced a television show in the posting and thanked supporters.

But Martin wasn’t convinced.

“You never know who reads something like this,” he said.

Deputy District Attorney Bobbie Mann argued that Gastineau’s words should not be taken lightly.

“The words indicate his personal feelings. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have posted them,” Mann told the judge.

After the court proceedings, Gastineau’s lawyer, Andrew Haynal, downplayed any potential for danger, saying the message was paraphrased from the television show “Battlestar Galactica.”

“I strongly believe that my client would not be a threat to anyone in the community,” Haynal said.

Gastineau returns to court Aug. 25, when it will be determined whether the lawyers are ready to proceed with a preliminary hearing four days later.

Gastineau, who had been based at the sheriff’s Highland station, was arrested April 22. He pleaded not guilty June 21 to three counts of lewd acts on a minor and three counts of unlawful sexual intercourse.

The case has cast a spotlight on the Explorer Program operated by the Sheriff’s Department.

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