By Surae Chinn
WASHINGTON (WUSA) - A DC Police officer used his position as a youth choir director to sexually abuse an underage girl, police said.
Forty-four-year-old Wendel Palmer appeared in a DC courtroom Thursday afternoon where he pleaded not guilty.
He was also granted a separation order which means he will be isolated from the general jail population.
Palmer is the youth choir director at his family church, which was founded by his father and now lead by his brother.
A family member who came out of the courthouse had nothing to say, but gave one another a nod when Palmer entered the courtroom.
Court documents say Palmer sexually abused a 6th grader who was 11 years old at the time for a period of two years, between 2004 and 2006.
One of Palmer's neighbors saw a number of police officers at his Fort Washington home earlier this week.
She says she is shocked and saddened by the news. She says she feels for the girl who was allegedly victimized.
Police say most of the incidents happened during choir rehearsals in the pastor's office at Bethuel Temple Church of the Christ Apostolic Inc. in Southeast D.C.
According to court papers, the abuse happened during rehearsal breaks when Palmer would send the other children to a store, leaving them alone.
The girl, who is now 19 years old, reported the crimes back in March of last year and allegedly says there were too many sexual incidents to count.
But Palmer is charged, right now, with one count of child sex abuse.
Palmer is a 22 year veteran of the Metropolitan Police Department and works in the 6th district. He is on paid administrative leave.
According to court documents the girl picked Palmer in a photo lineup of 9 different pictures of police officers.
Palmer is being held without bond until his detention hearing next Tuesday.