- Associated Press - Friday, July 11, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) - A former D.C. police officer has been sentenced to 18 years in prison after being convicted of sexually abusing a girl who participated in his church choir.

Forty-six-year-old Wendel Palmer was sentenced Friday in D.C. Superior Court. After he gets out of prison he will have to register as a sex offender.

Palmer’s attorney David Benowitz said Palmer maintains his innocence and will be appealing.

Prosecutors say that Palmer directed the girl in a choir at a D.C. church that she her and her family attended and which his family ran. Authorities say the abuse began when the victim was 10 or 11 years old, and occurred at the church during breaks in choir rehearsals and other places.

The victim reported the abuse in 2012, after she turned 18.

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