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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 26, 2016

Former Police Officer Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison On Child Pornography and Sexual Abuse Charges

Defendant Also Was a Pastor at Southeast Washington Church

            WASHINGTON - Darrell Best, 46, a former member of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), was sentenced today to 18 years in prison after earlier pleading guilty to one count of production of child pornography, one count of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, and one count of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor, announced U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department.

            Best pled guilty in October 2015 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.  The plea agreement, which was contingent upon the Court’s approval, called for the 18-year prison sentence. The Honorable Reggie B. Walton accepted the plea today and sentenced Best accordingly. Following his prison term, Best will be placed on supervised release for the rest of his life. He also will be required by law to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.

            In addition to working as a police officer, Best was the head pastor of a church in Southeast Washington. The sexual abuse charges stem from incidents involving two minor females who knew and trusted him through the church. Best pled guilty to second-degree sexual abuse of a minor based on his sexual abuse of one of the girls on Dec. 3, 2014 at MPD Headquarters.  He pled guilty to first-degree sexual abuse of a minor based on his sexual abuse of the other girl on Feb. 14, 2015 while inside the church.

            On March 14, 2015, after one of the girls told her parents about the abuse, the Metropolitan Police Department’s Youth Division began investigating the case. Best was arrested two days later and has been in custody ever since.

            Following Best’s arrest, investigators obtained a search and seizure warrant from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia for Best’s cellular phone. A forensic examination of the phone revealed seven images depicting child pornography, which Best had produced using one of the victims.

            “As a police officer and church pastor, Darrell Best was entrusted by the community to help people in need, not exploit them,” said U.S. Attorney Phillips. “He betrayed the trust placed in him by the two young victims in this case, causing great harm to them and their families. This sentence holds him appropriately accountable for his predatory and criminal conduct.”

            “I am hopeful the sentencing today provides some measure of comfort for these victims and their families,” said Chief Lanier. “Mr. Best used the trust he had built within the community, as a pastor and a police officer, to take advantage of those who relied on him.”

            In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Phillips and Chief Lanier commended the work of those who investigated the case from the Metropolitan Police Department. They also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. In addition, they acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Criminal Investigator John Marsh; Paralegal Specialist Donhue Troy Griffith, and Victim/Witness Advocate Lezlie Richardson. Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah D. McClellan and Lindsay Suttenberg, who investigated and prosecuted the case.

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Updated February 26, 2016