Capitol Police officers expressed anger and embarrassment Friday, after learning that Sgt. Michael Malloy was convicted the previous day of sexually exploiting a juvenile to produce child pornography.
Malloy, 35, faces 15 to 30 years in prison after having sex with a 14-year-old girl in the fall of 2005 and videotaping it. A longtime friend, Aaron J. Burroughs, has been indicted on six counts of child sex trafficking and child sexual abuse for allegedly acting as the pimp for the same girl.
“There’s only one word for it: embarrassing,” said one Capitol Police officer, who asked for anonymity when speaking about such a sensitive issue. “Every time they call him a Capitol Police officer, I’m embarrassed.”
When Malloy was charged with the crime last summer, he was supervising officers who stood guard at House buildings. His history with policing the Capitol was long: He worked as an officer there for 16 years, once serving on the security detail for now-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), according to his attorney, Kenneth Ravenell.
After his arrest, Malloy was immediately put on administrative leave, said Capitol Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider. Chief Phillip Morse has recommended he be fired, she said.
A few officers who knew Malloy described him as a seemingly regular cop who was fairly quiet.
“He was a quiet guy. He showed up at roll call and then you didn’t see him,” said one officer. “It’s always the quiet ones.”
Malloy’s behavior came as a surprise to the department. Such personal, off-duty conduct is particularly difficult for the department to discover, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer said. Once the department found out about Malloy’s conduct, however, Gainer said officials took swift action to deal with the situation.
Gainer, a former Capitol Police chief, said he did not know Malloy but is “disappointed that he let the profession down.”
“His conduct in no way represents our officers up on the Hill or the law enforcement profession,” Gainer said.
Indeed, no one interviewed for this article could remember the last time a Capitol Police officer was convicted of — or even charged with — a felony. Senate Historian Richard Baker said he couldn’t think of such an instance, although he stressed that his office doesn’t keep comprehensive records on the Capitol Police. And Schneider said it is rare, adding that she also couldn’t remember any similar incident. However, she said records on convictions were not readily available.
Several officers said they were kept in the dark about Malloy’s situation, only hearing about his arrest and subsequent conviction from the media.
“One day he was here, and the next he was gone,” said one officer. Rumors spread about his whereabouts, but information was scarce even last week, when some officers hadn’t yet heard that he was convicted of the crime.
Schneider said the department has to be careful about giving out information on personnel issues. No announcement was made about Malloy being put on leave or being convicted, but such announcements are not routinely made, she said.
Malloy will be sentenced on Dec. 10 in federal court. Ravenell said he would appeal the conviction because he was not allowed to fairly defend Malloy by arguing the officer’s ignorance of the girl’s age. But in a statement released last week, Rod Rosenstein, U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland, said Malloy should have learned her age before participating in a sexual video with her.
“As this case demonstrates, anyone who takes pornographic photographs or video recordings has an obligation first to determine that the person being photographed is an adult,” he said in the release.
Several officers expressed a similar view Friday, saying that Malloy should immediately be fired. But the whole situation was still a shock for at least one of Malloy’s peers.
“He was a good guy,” one officer said. “I think it’s messed up.”
Elizabeth Brotherton contributed to this report.