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Petaluma chef arrested on suspicion of child molestation

A well-known Petaluma chef has been arrested on suspicion of molesting a young girl for several years.

Corey Basso, 66, owned and was head chef at Le Bistro restaurant on Petaluma Boulevard South for several years until it closed in 2017. Beginning in 2019, he was an occasional cook at Seared further north on the boulevard.

Basso hasn’t worked at Seared since February, owner Ken O’Donnell said Friday.

Detectives arrested Basso Wednesday after interviewing him at police headquarters about allegations a young woman made about him, Petaluma Police Sgt. Paul Gilman said.

The woman, now 18, reported that Basso molested her repeatedly over several years.

Basso was booked on four charges: two counts of continuous sexual abuse of a minor under age 10, one count of the same with a minor under 14 and one count of committing lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14. All charges relate to one alleged victim.

He bailed out after posting bond for $225,000 bail, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Sgt. Juan Valencia said.

Basso was scheduled to make an initial court appearance on Sept. 4. Neither Basso nor an attorney for him could be reached for comment.

The case began when the alleged victim, a Sonoma County resident, reported to police that Basso had abused her multiple times several years ago.

“This was someone known to him who he had access to for several years,” Gilman said. “He had taken advantage of that relationship.”

Detectives gathered details of the alleged acts and contacted Basso yesterday.

“We interviewed him and determined there was enough for us to say these charges are warranted,” Gilman said. “Ultimately, we felt very confident on the charges.”

Cases from several years ago that surface later can be difficult, he said, but the alleged victim remembered specific details about what she said happened.

“She’s a strong young lady to tell us what happened to her,” Gilman said. “We believe this young lady and hope to present the best case possible to the District Attorney.”

Basso was investigated for suspicion of misdemeanor sexual battery in 2015 that involved someone he worked with, Gilman said. That case was dismissed in 2016 after several court hearings.

You can reach Staff Writer Lori A. Carter at 707-521-5470 or lori.carter@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @loriacarter.

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