A U.S. Forest Service firefighter pleaded guilty Thursday and was immediately sentenced to nearly four years in prison for possessing child pornography and groping a 12-year-old girl in Newport Beach.

Jacob Daniel Carothers rode by on a bicycle and grabbed a 12-year-old girl on two occasions as she and her swimwear-clad friends walked on the Balboa Peninsula on May 29, 2020, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

When police arrested Carothers in an alley nearby, they determined he was in possession of a “significant amount of pornographic photos and videos” involving children.

Carothers, 39, of San Jacinto, pleaded guilty to two counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor younger than 14 and a count of possession of over 600 images of child pornography, according to court records.

Carothers was sentenced to three years and eight months in prison and was ordered to surrender to jail by Oct. 29.

Carothers was assigned to the Cleveland National Forest.

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