WASHINGTON — A federal judge sentencing a former D.C. police officer and pastor was barely controlling his anger at Darrell Best, who pleaded guilty to producing child pornography and sexually abusing two teenage girls.
“I have a hard time understanding how a man of God, when two girls come for help, your response is to have sex with them,” said U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton, his tone rising in disbelief.
Walton sentenced Best to 18 years at Butner federal prison, where he will get treatment designed for sexual offenders. When Best gets out of prison, he will be on supervised release for the rest of his life, and be required to register as a sex offender.
Best apologized to his victims, who were not present in the courtroom.
“I apologize from the depths of my soul — this was not premeditated, it was a moment of weakness,” said Best.
Walton disagreed, saying it was a series of moments. One of the instances of sexual abuse took place at the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Department.
Prosecutors and the defense had asked Walton to go along with a plea deal, calling for a sentence of 18 years in prison.
Walton repeatedly questioned whether that sentence was appropriate, given Best’s abuse of his badge and religious standing.
“I can understand how a child who’s been betrayed by a minister can give up on God,” Walton said, before imposing sentence.
In 18 years, Best will be 60. Walton expressed concern Best would reoffend when he gets out of prison.
“There are crimes when someone should spend the rest of their lives, and this is one of them,” said Walton.
However, Walton reluctantly accepted the 18-year prison agreement, to spare the young victims from having to confront and testify against Best.
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