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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

Friday, July 11, 2014

Former MPD Officer Sentenced To 18 Years In Prison For Sexually Abusing 11-Year-Old Girl-Victim Came Forward Years Later-

            WASHINGTON - Wendel Palmer, 46, a former officer with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), was sentenced today to 18 years in prison for sexually abusing a child on numerous occasions between 2004 and 2006, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.

            A jury in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia 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. He was sentenced by the Honorable J. Herbert B. Dixon, Jr. Upon completion of his prison term, Palmer will be placed on 10 years of supervised release. During that 10-year period, he must register as a sex offender.

            According to the government’s evidence, at the time of the offenses, Palmer was an MPD officer who was also the youth choir director at the Bethuel Temple Church of Christ Apostolic, Inc., in the 2400 block of Martin Luther King Avenue SE.  The defendant’s family founded and operated the church.  The victim’s family belonged to the church, and the victim was a member of the choir.  The abuse began when the victim was 10 or 11 years old, and occurred at the defendant’s home in Maryland, at the church during breaks in choir rehearsals, and at other locations in the District of Columbia and in Maryland.  The victim was afraid to report the abuse while it was occurring, in part because the defendant was a police officer.  The victim reported the abuse in 2012, after she turned 18. 

            In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of the detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Youth Division and Mobile Crime Division.  He also expressed appreciation for the work of Victim/Witness Advocate Tracey Hawkins, Paralegal Specialists Jason Manuel and Kristy Penny, and the Litigation Support Staff. Lastly, he acknowledged the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amy Zubrensky, who investigated, indicted and tried the case, and Sarah McClellan, who also investigated the case.


Updated February 19, 2015