COSTA MESA — A 27-year-old game booth worker was charged Tuesday with misdemeanor child annoyance after allegedly touching a 13-year-old girl who was playing a game at the Orange County Fair, authorities said.
Roy William Lembke of Riverside was also charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana--less than one ounce--after being questioned by Orange County sheriff's deputies at his game booth.
He will be arraigned today in Municipal Court in Newport Beach and is being held at the Intake Release Center in Santa Ana on $10,000 bail, according to Sheriff's Department Lt. Tom Garner.
The alleged victim was with two other girls Monday night at the Roll down game, in which balls are rolled along a tray onto numbered slots. A parking attendant noticed that the girl was upset and crying as she exited the fair.
The attendant asked the girl if he could help and was told by her friends that she had been touched by a game booth worker, said Jill Lloyd, fair spokeswoman. He informed fair security, which notified the Sheriff's Department.
Lembke is employed by one of the independent operators that provide games for Ray Carmack Shows, the firm contracted to provide rides and games at the fair, according to Lloyd.
Three years ago, a carnival worker and convicted child molester pleaded guilty to fondling five teenage girls at a haunted house attraction at the fair.
"We feel it is not the same thing as the '93 incident," Lloyd said. "The charges are different. Criminal charges were filed [in the earlier incident], this is a misdemeanor. There is no evidence of anything other than that he touched her."
The fair does not conduct security checks on its employees and leaves hiring up to RCS, the contractor.
Lloyd said the fair considered doing background checks after the earlier incident but did not initiate the procedure because it would have been too costly and would have slowed the hiring process.
"When we bring in 700,000 people to the fair each year, we keep [crime] down to a reasonable level," Lloyd said. "A background check doesn't always prevent something else from happening."
The Sheriff's Department has uniformed and plainclothes officers on patrol at the fair in addition to fairgrounds security personnel. Garner said there are no plans to add more officers because "security is pretty stringent."