Sacramento police: Former officer arrested, suspected of inappropriately talking to 15-year-old girl

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A former Sacramento police officer was arrested Wednesday after an investigation into allegations he was inappropriately communicating with a 15-year-old girl.

The Sacramento Police Department said they received a complaint March 9, alleging Officer Daniel Donahue was accused of communicating inappropriately with a girl through social media.

Kathy Benjamin, the girl’s aunt said she will soon be the legal guardian of the teen.

“He had this disgusting desire, ‘Did you see it? Did you see it? Tell me what you think right away. Did you see it?’ And then he sent another one and then another one; I think there may have been three or four that just came rolling in,” she said. “These pictures were gross. What was more gross was the excitement he had that this underage girl was looking at it.”

Benjamin told FOX40 the conversations took place earlier this month on an app called Hoop. The app says it’s a way for people to make friends on the social media platform Snapchat.

The department said they immediately launched an investigation into the allegations and found they had merit.

“The Sacramento Police Department does not and never will tolerate this criminal behavior from our officers,” said Sacramento Police Department Chief Daniel Hahn in the release. “This behavior tarnishes the Sacramento Police Department badge and is absolutely not representative of the honorable work of our more than 1,000 members who are dedicated to serving our City.”

Donahue, who worked for the department for about two years, was placed on administrative leave while investigators obtained search warrants for Donahue’s home, vehicle, workspace and electronic devices.

Officials said Donahue resigned from his position during their investigation.

According to police, based on the evidence found, they arrested Donahue for charges related to inappropriate communications with a minor.

“It is critical we hold people accountable when they victimize the most vulnerable members of our community – especially when they are in a position of authority,” Hahn said in the release. “Though Donahue resigned, we have filed criminal charges against him. We will continue to work with the victim in this case and I am profoundly sorry for what this person did while being a member of our department.” 

Benjamin says Donahue never specifically said he was with the Sacramento Police Department, but with help, she was able to determine it through the photos he sent, including some which show him in a police uniform.

Benjamin also adds Sacramento police took her claims seriously and were very cooperative.

Now both family and police want to know if there are other victims out there.

“And this app, this Hoop app, these kids are everywhere. Everywhere, you know? So you can’t tell me if somebody has got a nasty fetish and desire they’re just going to go on and pick one person. They just found a way to get away with something; they are going to get trigger-happy,” Benjamin said.

The investigation is ongoing and officials said they believe there may be additional victims.

Sacramento police are asking anyone who may be a victim of a crime involving Donahue to contact the Sacramento Police Department’s tip-line at 916-277-1773.

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