A former Texas probationary officer is accused of sending graphic photographs and having inappropriate conversations with an 8-year-old California girl he met on the internet.
Andrew Hellums, a 28-year-old man and now-former Memphis police probationary officer, allegedly sent graphic photos of his genitals to the girl, according to local outlet LocalMemphis.com. The victim allegedly sent several photographs of herself in sexual poses upon Hellums’ request. The conversations occurred during November and December of 2018.
The child’s father found the photos and the alleged exchanges between her and the man who once dreamed of a career in law enforcement. The concerned dad filed a complaint with the Tracy Police Department in California who contacted the Memphis Police Department on Friday, according to WMC Action New 5 in Memphis.
As a result, Hellums was arrested on suspicion of criminal counts including aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor and solicitation sexual exploitation of a minor by electronic means. The Memphis Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) office immediately began an investigation, according to the Memphis Police Department.
“Andrew Hellums was hired by the Memphis Police Department in March of 2017,” the police department wrote in a statement. “Hellums [sic] employment with the department was terminated prior to this investigation due to his failure to satisfy the probationary process.”
It’s not clear how Hellums came in contact with the girl.
The police department stated that this is an ongoing investigation. His bond has been set at $40,000. It’s not clear if Hellums has a lawyer who can speak on his behalf at this time.
His father, who has not been named, did speak to local outlet WREG after they tracked him down. He called his son a “fine Christian man” who dreamed of becoming a police officer his entire life. He said the arrest came to him as a shock.
The victim’s father has also spoken out, telling LocalMemphis.com, “We talked before when she got the phone about pedophiles and kidnappers. I was just disappointed that she feel into that trap.”
[Photo: Memphis Police Department]
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