Pr. George’s Co. officer sentenced to probation for upskirt photos

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — A police officer who secretly aimed his phone’s camera up the skirts of unsuspecting women has been sentenced to three years of supervised probation.

Prince George’s County Officer James Sims, 30, pleaded guilty last month to four counts of visual surveillance with prurient interest and two counts of misconduct in office.

His behavior was exposed when a woman, an off-duty D.C. police officer, caught him trying to take a picture from beneath her dress at a Sports Authority location in Bowie in June.

After she identified herself as a police officer, she said that Sims told her he was an officer as well.

“He pulls up his shirt, and on his waistband he has his gun and his badge,” she told WTOP. The off-duty officer, who was 8.5 months pregnant at the time, said the encounter left her crying and shaking. She asked that her name not be used.

The D.C. officer later saw Sims climb into his patrol car as he left the store, and she took pictures of him and the car and reported the incident.

In all, prosecutors said Sims targeted at least four victims, including two women who had been pulled over by Sims.

“I just felt as though that just shows that he has no respect for the oath that he took as a police officer,” the D.C. officer said.

Earlier, in court, she told the judge she “was the target of a predator.”

In addition to probation, Sims on Friday was given a one-year suspended sentence, which “does leave jail time hanging over his head if he violates his probation in any way,” said John Erzen, a spokesman for the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Erzen said sentencing guidelines called for probation because of Sims’ lack of a criminal record.

A spokesman for the Prince George’s County Police Department said that an internal investigation into Sims’ conduct is underway, and his future as an officer will be determined once the investigation is completed. Sims has been with the department since 2010. Sims remains suspended with pay.

“Certainly it would be our intent and our hope that he would no longer be able to be a police officer,” Erzen said.

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