Va. detective facing child sex-related charges kills self

WASHINGTON — A Manassas police detective who worked on a regional task force to protect children from Internet crimes and was at the center of a child exploitation investigation killed himself Tuesday as police came to arrest him.

Investigators had evidence that Manassas City Det. David Abbott, 39, solicited at least two boys whom he had met while coaching youth hockey as far back as 2008.

Prince William County police say a 13-year-old boy reported to them that his hockey coach, Abbott, was soliciting sex acts from the boy by phone, text, email and social media.

“Through our investigation, we also identified a second victim, now 18 — but he was 13 when the offenses began. Similar set of circumstances, also involving the accused,” says Prince William County Sgt. Jonathan Perok.

Investigators obtained arrest and search warrants and went to Abbott’s Gainesville home where they attempted to charge him Tuesday morning.

Officers obtained felony charges for two counts of indecent liberties with a minor and two counts of use of communication device to solicit a minor, according to Manassas City Police.

Abbott would not cooperate with county officers and barricaded himself inside the house, Perok says. Assuming he was armed, Prince William County police officers evacuated neighbors and tried to talk Abbott into surrendering.

“Unfortunately, it ended with him taking his own life,” Perok says.

Police say that Abbott shot himself with a handgun. He died at the scene.

Afterward, officers were able to search his home and collect evidence, which could lead to identifying more victims, Perok says.

Police began investigating Abbott Monday when the 13-year-old reported the communications with his coach. The boy told police that the solicitations began in June 2013. During the investigation, police learned about the older boy, who also knew Abbott through the hockey league. He told police that the inappropriate communications with Abbott began in 2008.

Last year, Abbott was the center of a controversial dispute involving a sexting case in which he reportedly demanded a young boy take pictures of his genitalia as part of an sexting investigation. Abbott sued the boy’s defense attorney over the allegations, but later dropped the suit.

Abbott was an active member of the Northern Virginia-Washington D.C. Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Manassas City Police and the regional task force were made aware of the investigation, Perok says.

The police department released a statement, which read in part:

“This is a tragic and sad day for the Abbott family, the juvenile victims and their families, the Manassas City Police Department, and our community. Despite these recent developments regarding the serious allegations against him, we are grateful for the contributions Det. Abbott made during his time with Manassas City Police, to include the prosecution and conviction of hundreds of criminals.”

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Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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