TAMPA - When Stephen Governale drove to a fast food restaurant in Seminole County on Friday, he thought he was meeting a 17-year-old boy with whom he held sexually explicit chats via Facebook, a federal arrest affidavit states.
Governale, who is a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserve and a protocol call officer for a general at U.S. Central Command's MacDill Air Force Base, was met instead by investigators and charged with using the internet to attempt and persuade a minor to engage in sexual activity.
The parents of the teen called the FBI after they found the sexual messages on his Facebook chat.
The teen told agents he met Governale in October 2009 through an organization affiliated with the military. In September 2010, the teen said he attended a conference in Brevard County with Governale. According to federal documents, the teen claims he shared a hotel room with Governale, watched pornography alongside him and engaged in sex acts with him.
Governale assured the boy what they were doing "was not gay," according to federal documents.
The teen also told investigators Governale picked him up in Seminole County last spring and took him to an event at Patrick Air Force Base in Brevard. Again, the teen claims he shared a hotel room with Governale and engaged in similar behavior.
On September 11, an FBI agent posing as the teen started chatting with Governale online. All of the conversations were documented in a 40-page arrest affidavit. Most of what was written was so graphic it cannot be revealed.
In one conversation, Governale wrote: "I've wanted to see you for a while but never got a hold of you."
At the end of each online chat, Governale also ordered who he thought was the teen to "erase" this conversation.
The teen told agents Governale would often talk to him about four other teens he had similar relationships with.
ABC Action News did go to Governale's home on Shirley Drive in Tampa but his wife would not come to the door.
Neighbors were also shocked at the arrest. Every neighbor ABC Action News approached declined to speak out of respect for the family.
Governale stated on his Facebook page that he worked for General David Patraeus. In 2011, Governale was named Centcom civilian of the year.
Governale remains behind bars and has a public defender. He will face a preliminary court hearing on October 1.
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