Steve Canava

A former McLennan County deputy constable was placed on two years’ deferred misdemeanor probation after he pleaded guilty to a prostitution charge.

Steve Canava, 51, was among 29 men arrested in an online prostitution sting in February.

He initially was arrested on second-degree felony charges. But prosecutors reduced the charge to a Class B misdemeanor, and McLennan County Court-at-Law Judge Mike Freeman accepted the plea agreement.

Canava’s attorney, Gerald Villarrial, said the veteran officer wanted to put the incident behind him.

“You have a guy who had a great career at Waco PD and had a great career in law enforcement, and I hate that something like this would tarnish all the great years that he had serving this community,” Villarrial said.

McLennan County Precinct 1 Constable Walt Strickland initially placed Canava on unpaid administrative leave after his arrest. But he fired him a week later after an internal investigation, Strickland said.

According to records filed in his case, Canava agreed to meet a person he thought to be a 17-year-old girl “for sexual intercourse for $100.”

McLennan County Sheriff’s Detective Joseph Scaramucci said in the affidavit he identified Canava using law enforcement databases.

The sting was designed to catch suspects seeking underage escorts for sex acts or people trying to become pimps by trafficking underage prostitutes. Officials said all suspects were given a choice of ages, and most chose to arrange sex with a minor.

Canava, a former longtime Waco police officer, was wearing his uniform and was armed at the time he was caught showing up for the afternoon rendezvous.

Canava surrendered his pistol to the officers, some of whom he had worked with for years.

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