A Pennsylvania police department turned away a women who reported that a Samsung tablet she had purchased second-hand included graphic video of a young girl being molested by the grown man from whom she had bought the device.
The Newcastle Police Department acknowledged on Friday that an officer had violated protocol last month by telling the woman to return in four days when the department’s detective was scheduled to return from Christmas vacation.
“It was a violation of our policy and there was some disciplinary action,” Chief Robert Salem told TheBlaze.
Kayla Petronelis purchased the tablet at a flea market for $225 the Sunday before Christmas, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. She thought it was a great deal.
But, when the 27-year-old tattoo artist turned the device on, she stumbled upon video showing the man from whom she had purchased the tablet abusing a little girl around 8-years-old.
That’s when she attempted to turn the tablet into the New Castle Police Department. But, Petronelis was told to come back four days later on Dec. 30 — despite the risk the child could potentially continue to be assaulted — when the detective who would investigate the incident would be back from vacation.
Salem told TheBlaze that his department broke proper protocol and should have immediately taken the device containing “graphic sex” photographs and video into custody.
“They should have taken it into custody,” he said, noting Petronelis’ tablet had a dead battery when she first tried to turn hand it over to officers. ”They should have took it. Bottom line, they should have took it.”
After police eventually accepted the tablet on Dec. 30, officers found video depicting “several instances of child abuse” on the device, eventually leading to the arrest of Donald A. Miller, 43.
He faces multiple charges, include rape of a child, filming of sexual acts involving a child, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child and indecent assault of a person less than 13-years-old, according to the Post-Gazette.
Investigators also learned that the man had been living with the abused girl, but had been “thrown out” days earlier, Salem told TheBlaze, adding that the victim was not abused during the four day window in which Petronelis was told to wait before turning the evidence in.
Miller remains in custody on a $150,000 bond.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the device as an iPad, when in fact it was a Samsung tablet.
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