TAMPA — A protocol officer for a general at U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base has been arrested by federal officials and accused of trying to entice a 17-year-old boy to engage in sexual activity.
Air Force Lt. Col. Stephen Michael Governale, 49, of Tampa was being held Tuesday in Seminole County without bail pending an Oct. 1 hearing in Orlando federal court.
Court documents do not name the general to whom he reported, or say where the teen lived.
On his Facebook page, Governale posted a photo in 2010 showing him with the man he said was his boss at the time, Gen. David H. Petraeus, the former chief of CentCom.
The teen's parents had alerted the FBI office in Maitland, near Orlando, to Facebook sex chats their son had been having with Governale, and provided the agency with copies of some of those messages, according to federal court records. The FBI then interviewed the boy.
Governale, who is married, met the boy in October 2009 through an organization affiliated with the military, records show.
The boy told law enforcement that he was invited to attend a conference in Brevard County in September 2010 and slept in the same bed with the officer, court records say. The boy said Governale rented a pornographic movie and both masturbated as they watched, records say.
The boy said he was invited to a second conference earlier this year where similar sexual activity took place, according to court records. Since that meeting, the pair shared sexually explicit messages on Facebook.
On Sept. 12, the boy and his parents gave the FBI permission for an agent to assume the boy's identity on Facebook, records say. The agent engaged Governale in additional, and explicit, conversation, records show.
On Friday, Governale was arrested by federal marshals when he arrived to a supposed meeting with the teen at a Wendy's restaurant in Seminole County, records say.