We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

A 22-year veteran of the  Metropolitan Police Department was sentenced to 18 years in prison today for sexually abusing a girl multiple times between 2004 and 2006, U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen announced in a press release today.

The officer, Wendel Palmer, was the youth director at the Bethuel Temple Church of Christ Apostolic on the 2400 block of Martin Luther King Avenue SE. It was there that he met the victim, who was a member of the choir and about 10 years old when the abuse started. The abuse occurred at Palmer’s Maryland home, the church during choir rehearsal breaks, and other locations throughout D.C. and Maryland, according to the government’s evidence.

The victim reported the abuse in 2012 after she turned 18. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, she waited so long to report the abuse because she was afraid, in part because Palmer was a police officer.

A Superior Court jury found Palmer guilty in November 2013 of three counts of first-degree child sexual abuse with aggravating circumstances, two counts of second-degree child sexual abuse with aggravating circumstances, and two counts of enticing a child with aggravating circumstances.

In 2013, a second woman came forward saying that Palmer sexually abused her when she was a teen singing in his choir, the Post reported.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery