Esteban Parra - Delaware Online
A former Wilmington police officer charged with sending nude photos to a teenage girl he met while on duty last year has been sentenced to 90 days of home confinement, according to the Delaware Department of Justice.
Brandon Cooper was sentenced Thursday after he pleaded guilty to lewdness, official misconduct and possession of a controlled substance. The 31-year-old's plea and sentence took place four days before he was to stand trial.
Cooper met the girl in March 2020 at Kingswood Community Center, while he was assigned there. Then between December 2021 and Jan. 1, 2022, prosecutors said Cooper and the teen "engaged in a series of explicit text messages, including nude photos of the victim and Cooper encouraging sexual acts."
The texts include a Dec. 2, 2021, video message where Cooper, who is wearing a Wilmington Police Department uniform, says "look," then aims the camera at his exposed, erect penis, prosecutors said. Cooper "also encouraged his victim to keep their communications secret," the state Justice Department said.
The Delaware Division of Family Services was called to the teen's house early that month for a report of sexual abuse. While that incident did not involve Cooper, the then-officer was dispatched to the residence to aid social workers, prosecutors said.
When Cooper arrived, the teen changed her story and said she wasn't sexually assaulted. Later, she told a Division of Family Services social worker she recanted her statement, according to court documents, "because Cooper had sent her a video of him exposing his penis."
The social worker contacted Wilmington police about the claims, causing the department to open an investigation and contact prosecutors.
Cooper, who graduated from Wilmington's 97th police academy in 2017, resigned from the department on Feb. 22 — 20 days before he was indicted for sending the images to the teen.
Eight days after that, Cooper was arrested with oxycodone pills, according to police and court records obtained by Delaware Online/The News Journal.
After Cooper serves his three-month home confinement, he will remain on probation for nine months. In addition, Cooper must surrender his police training certification, may not have a job that works with children and must undergo treatment.
Cooper is also not allowed to have contact with the teen girl.