A Phoenix Police officer has been arrested after an investigation revealed he had sexual conduct with a minor 12 years ago, police said Thursday.
The officer is 28-year-old Michael Mason. He has been with the Phoenix Police Department for three years and was a Phoenix Police civilian employee prior to that, Sgt. Vince Lewis said in a press release.
Police were alerted to the matter when the now-17-year-old victim told her therapist in March that Mason had sex with her while he was babysitting her one night 12 years ago. The therapist then notified state authorities, who then notified Phoenix police, a Maricopa County Superior Court document said.
In her interview with police, the victim said she was in kindergarten when the encounter occurred, according to the document.
In March, the victim participated in police-monitored text messaging with Mason. In her texts, she asked him if he remembered that night, and he answered that he did, the document said.
When she asked him why it happened, Mason responded with, “I don’t know why, honestly. That was a one time thing. I am sorry,” the document says.
On Wednesday, the victim’s mother participated in a monitored phone call with Mason. During the conversation, Mason admitted to sexually touching the victim, but he never admitted to having sex, the document said.
He also told the victim’s mom that he believes he was in middle school at the time of the incident, the document states.
Mason was then arrested by police. In his interview with investigators, Mason denied once again having sex with the girl, but did admit that he had touched her sexually, the document said.
Mason also told police that he believed she was in kindergarten at the time of the incident, the document showed.
Police booked Mason into jail and is seeking a charge of one count of sexual conduct with a minor, the document said.
Mason resigned from the force prior to being booked into jail, the release said.
“I am shocked and appalled to hear the details of this investigation,” Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said in the release.
“I am confident in the investigative process, as well as the current stringent hiring and background investigation process under my watch as police chief,” she added. “It is incumbent upon our organization to review these processes to ensure we are making every effort to detect and address these types of incidents.”