Authorities in Kansas confirmed one of their own has been arrested on suspicion of raping a young victim.
According to the New York Post, 52-year-old Michael Edward Mastel had been a deputy with the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office for more than a decade at the time of his arrest.
In a statement on the matter this week, District Attorney Mark Dupree said the alleged child rape potentially dates back to March 2011 and involved a victim under the age of 14.
The child was reportedly an acquaintance through his personal life and the alleged sexual abuse did not stem from his job as a deputy.
Investigators became involved last year when the alleged victim came forward to file a complaint with authorities.
Mastel was arrested and booked into Wyandotte County Detention Center with bond set at $250,000, according to records. He has already been placed on unpaid administrative leave, according to Sheriff Don Ash.
As KCTV reported, the suspect is expected to be charged with a range of criminal counts including rape, aggravated criminal sodomy and sexual exploitation of a child.
The sheriff said he was “disappointed” and “angry” over the allegations against his longtime deputy.
“That being said, we still have to show up every day and do our job,” Ash continued. “We still have to continue to move forward.”
Dupree also expressed anger over the nature of Mastel’s alleged crime, using the situation to drive home an important message to parents.
“Please believe your children, as this office will always believe our children,” he said. “Not only will we believe them — we will stand with them. Our children are important and when they speak it is imperative for us all to listen.”
[Featured image: Michael Edward Mastel, Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office]