A D.C. police officer was charged Tuesday with photographing a 15-year-old girl in various stages of undress as he investigated a report that she had run away from home, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court.
Prosecutors said police found additional photos of unidentified and undressed females on his camera, including images of two who appear to be minors. D.C. police said they are investigating whether there are other victims and are urging people to call with information.
The officer was identified as Marc J. Washington, 32, who lives in the Southern Maryland town of Waldorf, about 25 miles south of downtown Washington. He was arrested Monday night and later charged with a single count of production of child pornography.
Washington is a seven-year member of the force and is assigned to the 7th Police District, which covers much of Southeast Washington, including Barry Farm and other parts of the Anacostia area. A federal magistrate judge ordered the officer held until a detention hearing scheduled for Thursday. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison.
The officer’s attorney, Michelle Peterson, who is with the federal public defender service, declined to comment, and relatives could not be reached for comment. Police put Washington on no-contact status, which means he is barred from interacting with the public if released from jail pending trial.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said in a statement that “to learn of an allegation of this kind against a person who is sworn to protect our children, it is both shocking and disturbing. We are fortunate that someone came forward to alert us of this behavior to ensure that we prevent future victims.”
Court documents say that Washington went to the teenager’s apartment in Southeast Washington on Saturday after the girl’s mother called to report her missing. The girl returned home about 1 p.m. Sunday, and the mother called police to cancel the complaint.
Authorities said Washington returned to the apartment about 11:40 that night, while on duty, even though he had not been dispatched. He spoke to the mother privately, the criminal complaint says, and then asked to speak to the girl in her bedroom.
Authorities allege the officer closed the door and asked the girl — who was dressed for bed — about where she had been. The court documents state that Washington told her to take off her black tank top and bra, saying that “he needed to take pictures of her injuries.” The girl told him that she wasn’t hurt, but he insisted that he was following procedure, authorities said. He ordered her to pose, authorities said, and then said he needed her to remove her shorts to document tattoos for evidence.
Hearing the mother using a bathroom, police said, Washington had the girl dress and then left the room, handing the girl a piece of paper with his name and phone number on it. Authorities said that the girl told her mother what had occurred and that the mother called D.C. police.
Prosecutors said a dispatcher at 12:38 a.m. Monday broadcast a message that contained details of the complaint and that could be heard by all 7th District officers. Court documents state that Washington, who was still on duty, “read the message” before being stopped and questioned.
Prosecutors said police seized Washington’s camera and discovered that nine images of the girl had been deleted. Officials were able to recover them, the criminal complaint says. Police found an additional 23 deleted images of individuals, authorities said, including four showing exposed body parts.
According to Master Sgt. Michael Chann, an Army spokesman, Washington is an Army veteran who served a year in Iraq, working as a mechanic, before he was discharged from the service in 2006.
Anyone with relevant relevant information is urged to call D.C. police at 202-727-9099 or the Youth Investigations Division at 202-567-6768.