A Las Vegas police officer charged with sexually abusing an underage girl said he was "the one chasing the bad guys and now is the bad guy" during a tense confrontation with the victim's father last year, according to a police report.
Metropolitan Police Department officer Garrett Vandereecken, 43, never admitted to touching the girl but never denied touching her either, according to the father's statements in an arrest report released Wednesday.
The girl told police the abuse began in 2008 on a Memorial Day camping trip to Zion National Park when she was 11 years old, the report said. She is now 15.
Vandereecken, who was arrested by his own department on Tuesday, had been longtime friends with the girl's parents, the report said.
The girl told police she was sleeping in a tent with Vandereecken and the officer's girlfriend while her parents slept in the bed of their pickup.
Although Vandereecken began the night sleeping on a separate mattress, sometime during the night he moved between his girlfriend and the underage girl for "warmth," the report said the girl told police.
The officer touched her 10 to 20 times during the night, the girl told detectives. She didn't tell anyone because Vandereecken said he'd be "in a world of trouble" if anyone found out, the report said.
The girl told police of three other incidents in the next three years in which Vandereecken touched her during several other family camping trips.
She spent time alone with Vandereecken because he would play and swim with her when she was bored. He was "like her best friend," she told detectives.
She said Vandereecken told her he was unhappy with his girlfriend but "stuck with her" because of her pregnancy, the report said.
The girl came forward to her family in 2011 after she took a class about sexual abuse at school, the report said.
She had also learned that Vandereecken was having a baby daughter and was worried she would be abused, the report said.
The girl's father did not immediately go to police but arranged a meeting at a bar with Vandereecken, his daughter and a mutual friend. The bar was chosen because it was a public, safe place for all involved, the report said.
During the two-hour discussion, which moved from the bar to the parking lot, Vandereecken denied the allegations but made several statements implicating himself, the girl and her father later told detectives.
Vandereecken allegedly said he had been stressed and traumatized from work, citing the 2011 rape and murder of Alyssa Otremba.
Otremba's death was three years after the alleged abuse occurred.
Vandereecken then allegedly apologized for "ever upsetting" or "hurting" the girl. He then said he wanted to "blow his brains out" and "end it all," the report said.
The mutual friend of Vandereecken and the girl's father later corroborated the account of the night to detectives.
Neither Vandereecken nor his girlfriend would speak to detectives and directed all questions to their attorney.
Vandereecken was hired in 2008 and assigned to the Northwest Area Command. The same year, he took the Safe Nest pledge against committing violence against women.
Safe Nest has provided domestic violence counseling and shelter in Southern Nevada since 1977.
Vandereecken has been suspended without pay pending criminal and internal investigations.
He was booked at the Clark County Detention Center but released on a $100,000 bond.
Contact reporter Mike Blasky at email@example.com or 702-383-0283.