I am constantly exposed to disturbing news, but a story I read today contains a hidden source of horror.
On the surface, a story in the Battle Creek (Michigan) Enquirer is the typical, run-of-the-mill "police officer having sex at work" story.
Only the sex was with a 15-year-old relative. While his wife, who is a police detective, kids and mom were asleep.
According to trial testimony, Troy Estree, 46, faces life in prison for nine counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.
His alleged victim testified Wednesday that she initially lied to investigators because she was trying to protect her relative, whom she considered more of a boyfriend than a family member.
The story does not specify the exact relationship between Estree and the girl. During five hours of court testimony, the girl, who is now 17, said she had "been estranged" from the defendant for 13 years but was happy to be reunited with him and his family in 2013.
Things turned sexual in 2014, the girl said, while she was watching "Family Guy" with Estree on the couch in his home. The girl said she allowed the sexual advances because "I didn’t want to let him down. ... If I said no he might walk out again."
She said Estree gave her a phone and began sending her messages. He invited her over to spend the night more often and began giving her alcohol, she said.
The two had sex "thousands" of times, the girl told investigators, including while Estree was in uniform. Once on a park bench and another time in the trunk of his patrol car, the girl testified.
Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the story is how investigators got the girl to admit she was having sex with the man she was trying to protect.
The girl initially claimed she was not having sex with Estree but with another person named "Brock." She only admitted to having sex with Estree after an investigator said she would call every contact in the girl's cellphone, which had been seized as evidence, and tell them she had herpes.
"I made [Brock] up because I didn't know what else to do to cover up for [Estree]. ... I was still trying to protect [Estree]. I was trying to limit his years in prison," she told the court.
A doctor testified Estree has genital and oral herpes (type 1 and 2) and the girl has oral (type 1).
Estree, a 10-year veteran, was fired in August 2014, shortly after the girl told a school counselor she was having sex with a relative.
Police said he texted the phone he gave the girl 1,900 times between May and August of 2014.
In the texts, Estree told the girl he hated himself for what happened.
She texted "When you first touching me I said OK. I didn't know what to do. Now I am used to it. I think it is normal. I feel like filth for the longest time. We are screwed up and this will never be normal again."
According to an August 2015 article , Estree is also accused of rape for forcing a 33-year-old niece to have sex. In that case, Estree's attorney alleged the niece and the 15-year-old were trying to blackmail his client.