Surveillance video of Panda Express patron thought to be suspect in lewd act.
Surveillance video of Panda Express patron thought to be suspect in lewd act. Image via

A sheriff’s deputy accused of groping a teenage girl while standing behind her in a Vista fast-food restaurant line pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of committing a lewd act on a 14-year-old and accessing a computer to look up information on the case.

Timothy Nathaniel Wilson Jr., 32, was ordered held on $200,000 bail.

Wilson, a 10-year department veteran assigned to detentions enforcement at the Vista Jail, was arrested at his workplace last Friday.

He faces three years and eight months in state prison and lifetime registration as a sex offender if convicted.

“Prosecuting sexual misconduct committed against minors is a priority for my office and is handled by a specialized unit,” said San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan. “These crimes are even more disturbing when the perpetrator is someone in a position of trust. No one is above the law and we will pursue justice in this case as we do in all cases.”

Wilson allegedly fondled the 14-year-old’s buttocks about 7 p.m. March 21 while in line at Panda Express on Main Street, near South Santa Fe Avenue.

A surveillance system at the restaurant captured video of the alleged perpetrator, who hurried out of the business and fled in a black sedan.

Earlier this month, another Sheriff’s Department employee reported that Wilson possibly was the man in the security camera images, according to authorities.

The defendant allegedly used his unique username and password to log into a Sheriff’s Department database to access information on the investigation, prosecutors said.

Wilson, who is on unpaid leave, will be back in court June 15 for a readiness conference.

— City News Service