An NYPD officer has been accused of possessing sexual videos and photos of minors, whom he allegedly targeted on Twitter and other social media platforms, federal prosecutors said.
Officer Carmine Simpson was arrested at his Long Island home Thursday morning, the officials said. He allegedly claimed to be 17 and communicated with dozens of children online, obtaining the illicit media in the process, while also encouraging some of the underage victims to potentially harm themselves in a serious manner, NBC New York reports.
The detention memo from the Eastern District of New York says Simpson allegedly used social media apps Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok and Discord to talk with at least 46 victims, who were between the ages of 13 and 17, between April and December of last year. During the conversations, the 26-year-old officer, who used a filter on his photos to appear younger, would reportedly persuade the children to produce the sexually explicit photos and videos and send them to him. The court papers also allege that Simpson encouraged dangerous behavior for the youths, such as cutting themselves with a knife, choking themselves with belts and hitting themselves.
"Instead of protecting the community as a sworn police officer, the defendant has preyed upon and sexually exploited the most vulnerable members," said Acting U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme.
A judge ordered Simpson jailed without bail pending trial, saying he was more of a danger to the community than typical child pornography defendants due to his violent tendencies described by prosecutors.
The NYPD suspended Simpson without pay. The son of a retired officer, he joined the police department in October 2018 and was assigned to a precinct in eastern Brooklyn. Sergeant Edward Riley, a police spokesperson said the allegations against Simpson are “reprehensible” and that the department “has zero tolerance for any officer who would endanger children or betray his oath in such a manner.”
Simpson did not enter a plea Thursday, but an initial court appearance conducted by video, his lawyer Todd Greenberg said he and his client understood the “seriousness of the allegations” and that Simpson would plead not guilty at a later date.
If convicted, Simpson faces a minimum of 15 years in prison.