Neighbors ‘shocked’ to learn of Virginia officer’s sex assault arrest

RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) – A longtime Richmond police officer is under arrest, accused of sexually assaulting a child.

Charles Church, a 12-year RPD veteran, has been charged with two counts of sodomy of a juvenile.

“The fact that he’s a police officer, whether i knew him or not, you’d think he’d be above that kind of standard,” said Mattia Pekanyande, a former neighbor of Church’s in Richmond.

But Richmond police are in fact investigating one of their own. Church, 39, is accused of sodomizing a child.

“He was a nice guy. I met his wife, I’d seen him with his kids. I wouldn’t expect something like that from him,” said another neighbor, Jerel Norman.

RPD forensics and investigators spent hours inside an apartment building off West Marshall Street Wednesday night.

“Just kinda of surprised because he didn’t seem like that kind of person. He didn’t really talk a lot, just kind of quiet. Just always said hi and bye and everything like that,” said Pekanyande.

The department learned about the allegations Tuesday night. Church was arrested Wednesday morning.

No further details about the alleged sexual assault have been released. We do know that the incident happened while church was off-duty.

“But the fact that he’s a police officer. It’s just pretty terrible,” said Pekanyande.

Chief Alfred Durham sent a statement to 8News, saying the arrest is unfortunate.

“It is our job to enforce the law and bring those responsible for committing criminal acts to justice even if it’s one of my own,” Durham said.

Officer Church is on administrative leave, without pay.

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