Detective faces the sack after sending ‘flirtatious’ messages including topless picture to attempted rape victim and trying to start sexual relationship with her, disciplinary panel hears
- Detective Sergeant Jonathan Pearce could be sacked over Facebook messages
- He sent them to a young woman who told him she was a victim of attempted rape
- He is is accused of ‘serious failure’ to secure evidence after he deleted messages
- The officer, in his 40s, says the messages were ‘light-hearted banter, not serious’
- He appeared before a disciplinary hearing at Kent Police HQ in Maidstone today
A detective exchanged ‘flirtatious’ messages with a victim of attempted rape and tried to strike up a sexual or emotional relationship with her, a panel has heard.
Detective Sergeant Jonathan Pearce could be sacked over Facebook messages he sent to the vulnerable young woman.
These included a topless photograph and an exchange about ‘sugar daddy’ relationships.
Kent Police’s Det Sgt Pearce had been told by the woman she was the victim of an attempted rape, and is accused of ‘serious failure’ to secure evidence after he deleted messages from his phone.
The officer, in his 40s, says messages he sent were ‘light-hearted banter, never anything serious’ and that did not want a sexual relationship with her.
He added he was ‘just trying to make her feel better about herself’ and wanted to bring the alleged perpetrator to justice.
Det Sgt Pearce appeared before a disciplinary hearing at Kent Police HQ in Maidstone on Monday. He has admitted misconduct but denies gross misconduct.
Det Sgt Pearce appeared before a disciplinary hearing at Kent Police HQ in Maidstone (pictured) on Monday. He has admitted misconduct but denies gross misconduct
The panel heard Det Sgt Pearce and the woman – identified only as Miss A – became Facebook friends in September 2019 and started chatting online.
The following month she told him she had been the victim of an attempted rape.
Miss A sent him screenshots of messages she had exchanged with the alleged attacker, including her telling them ‘no means no’.
Hours after telling Det Sgt Pearce about the incident, she said to him ‘you want me’, the panel heard.
He replied: ‘Maybe a little bit.’ She also sent him a screenshot from a newspaper article about so-called sugar daddies.
David Mesling, bringing the allegations against Det Sgt Pearce on behalf of Kent Police, said: ‘You said that you didn’t have that kind of money but asked what would you get.’
Det Sgt Pearce said he ‘took it as light-hearted’ and his reply was not asking her for a sexual favour, although he accepted it could be read as that.
In other messages he told Miss A that if he were ’20 years younger’ he would have asked her out, and sent her a topless photograph of his head and shoulders.
Mr Mesling added: ‘Knowing or believing Miss A to be a vulnerable person you continued to attempt to enter into a sexual or emotional relationship with her.’
He said Det Sgt Pearce has given a ‘changing account’ of how his messages to Miss A came to be deleted.
Giving evidence, the officer said he wanted to ‘protect her and look after her’ and did not want a romantic involvement.
He said: ‘We messaged and we talked and she felt more like my daughter as it went on. I didn’t want a sexual relationship with her, I had a partner and children.’
He said Miss A was adamant she did not want him to report the attempted sexual assault allegation as a crime but that he tried to get her to report what happened every day.
‘I know I have let everyone down and I’m sorry,’ he said.
Asked how the messages came to be deleted, he said it was ‘purely accidental’ and he had meant to archive them.
‘I deleted them because I was stupid and pressed the wrong button.’
The hearing continues.