U.S. Attorney's Office
District of South Carolina
(803) 929-3000
October 22, 2015

Former Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Child Pornography and Sexual Abuse Charges

WASHINGTON—Darrell Best, 46, a former member of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), pled guilty today 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 the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plea agreement, which is contingent upon the Court’s approval, calls for Best to be sentenced to 18 years in prison. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the Court will determine at Best’s sentencing the period of supervised release that Best will serve following the completion of his prison term. Best will also be required by law to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life. If he approves the plea, the Honorable Reggie B. Walton is to sentence Best on Feb. 26, 2016.

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.

In announcing the plea, 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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