A former York City police officer who worked with youth has been charged with sex offenses involving a teenage girl.
Joseph A. Palmer Jr., 28, of Dover Township, was charged Friday with indecent assault on a person under 16, corruption of minors, unlawful contact with a minor, contact/communication with a minor – sexual abuse; photographing/filming/representing on a computer a sexual act − knowingly or authorizing the child; and disseminating photos/films of sexual acts involving children.
He was released on $50,000 bail.
Earlier this year, the teen’s mother called city police to report that her daughter had been “groomed” and sexually assaulted by an officer, according to a probable cause affidavit. Palmer was a youth engagement officer in the police department and worked with troubled youth.
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The teenager had met Palmer at community engagement events offered by the police department that she and her family had attended. In September 2021, she contacted him for advice, the affidavit states. Shortly after, he asked her to communicate with him via Snapchat. He started asking her questions of a sexual nature.
Palmer requested nude photos and videos of the teenager, which she provided, the affidavit states. He also sent nude photos and videos of himself.
Authorities allege Palmer touched the teenager inappropriately while on his way to a local bowling alley twice.
Palmer remained in close contact with the teenager’s parents, the affidavit states. The family believed he was a mentor and role model to her.
The teenager told Palmer in February that she was over their relationship, and the following month she told her sister what had happened. Her brother said Palmer had been “creepy” with her too, asking the same sexual questions. She said they had to tell their parents.
On March 4, Palmer called York County 911 for information on a possible report about the teenager or her address. When he arrived at the police station for work, he found that a charge had been laid against him. He was not told who did it, the affidavit states.
Palmer was furloughed that day, and he resigned on April 12.
The York County District Attorney’s Office conducted the investigation.
Attorney Chris Ferro, who represents Palmer, released the following statement:
“I am reviewing the newly filed criminal charges. My client has consistently denied the allegations since they surfaced months ago. Merely filing the charges is not new evidence or new evidence , but rather an opportunity to respond to these allegations in a court of law.”