A former officer with the Fairfax County, Virginia, police department has been indicted on charges of sexual misconduct with a minor.
During a Tuesday news briefing, Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano said John Grimes is accused of engaging in sexual misconduct with a minor in the Fairfax County Police Public Safety Cadet Program “over whom he maintained a supervisory relationship” between Nov. 12, 2019 and Dec. 16, 2019.
The alleged misconduct began when Grimes took the 16-year-old girl on ride-alongs, prosecutors said. It was discovered after the FBI alerted the department that Grimes failed a lie-detector test while applying for a special agent job.
Descano said a grand jury indicted Grimes on three counts of custodial indecent liberties.
“Crimes in which young people in our community are taken advantage of by those in positions of authority within the criminal justice system are particularly egregious and threaten our community’s confidence in the system,” Descano said. “I will therefore always act to hold those responsible for such heinous crimes accountable. I am hopeful that this indictment will serve as a first step toward justice in this case.”
Grimes was suspended in December 2019 after the alleged conduct came to light and he resigned in May 2020, County Police Chief Kevin Davis said at a news conference Tuesday.
Grimes faces up to 15 years and would have to register as a sex offender if convicted.
“Crimes of a sexual nature against minors are some of the most heinous crimes,” Descano said during the briefing. “And whenever we see these crimes, I can’t help but think of my daughter and how painful it would be if she were a victim of these types of crimes. So my heart does go out to the victim and her family.”
He said the crimes are made “even more painful” when the crimes are committed by someone in a position of trust and authority. Going forward, ride-alongs for police cadets have been suspended.
“What we intend to do with the parents is to give them that type of visibility,” Davis said at a Tuesday news conference.
“What should you look for when your child’s participating in any program, whether it’s sports, music, after school, theater, the arts, you know, as a parent of four, it’s certainly helpful for me, even being in this profession, to know the right questions to ask and to know the things to look for the changes in the behaviors of our children, that sometimes we as parents think are, you know, just teenagers being teenagers,” Davis said.
“But there are certainly warning signs out there. And if we can improve the Public Safety Cadet Program in the police cadet program to include those types of visibility recommendations to parents, that’s something we’re going to do as well.”
WTOP’s Neal Augenstein and The Associated Press contributed to this report.