Wicomico Co. Sheriff’s Deputy arrested on rape and sex offense charges

1280 Steven Abreu

SALISBURY, Md. – A Wicomico County Sheriff’s Deputy has been terminated and charged following a rape investigation.

According to the statement of charges released by the Sheriff’s Office, during the late morning hours on Sunday, a detective was requested to interview a female victim of a sexual assault. The victim reportedly stated that she was in the parking lot of the Kohl’s Department Store meeting a friend when a marked Sheriff’s Office vehicle pulled up behind her, and a Deputy got out of the vehicle in full uniform and initiated contact with her and her friend. She told police that this incident took place during the early morning hours of October 26th and that the deputy told them that they were not allowed to be there when the business was not open.

The victim stated that the Deputy had a brief conversation with her friend and released him before coming over to her vehicle and began speaking with her. He reportedly identified himself by name, Steven Abreu, and asked for her identification and phone number. The victim provided the information he requested, and he reportedly wrote her information in a notebook that she saw him take out of his uniform vest pocket. She stated that he instructed her to get out of her vehicle, stating he wanted to check for illegal substances.

The victim complied but said that he did not search the vehicle, but instead began to “frisk” her, using his hands to grab her breasts and her buttocks. He then reportedly told her to get back into her vehicle. She reported that he then leaned into the open driver’s side window, keeping his flashlight on and in his right hand before moving his left hand under her pants and began to penetrate her vagina with his fingers. The victim said Abreu then began touching her breasts under her clothing with his left hand.

The victim stated that she did not consent to any of the sexual events and that she did not feel free to leave and was fearful of what would happen if she did try to run away or fight him. She told police that her friend called her to check on her and she told Abreu that it was her babysitter and that she had kids at home waiting for her and she was late, hoping that he would end the assault and let her leave. She said that Abreu wrote his phone number on a piece of paper and gave it to her before he let her go.

The victim also added that Abreu called her phone and sent her several text messages from the number that he had written on the paper for her. She stated that she did not answer the phone or respond to any of his text messages and deleted the message before opening it but did see what it said and that it was something of a sexual nature. She then reportedly blocked his number.

The victim stated that the following Friday, October 28th, just before 11 p.m., she was traveling home from her place of employment and noticed a marked Sheriff’s Office vehicle behind her on the road. She stated that she was speaking to her fiance using the hands-free system in her vehicle and told him that she knew it was the same Deputy and that he was following her. She said that he turned on his emergency lights, and she pulled over at Route 13 NB and Foskey Lane in Delmar. She reported that he initially approached on the passenger side of the vehicle and checked the car with his flashlight as he approached. He allegedly acted as if he didn’t know it was her prior to stopping her and told her that he stopped her for having a tag light out. Abreu reportedly went back to his car and was gone for several seconds before coming back to the driver’s side of the car and speaking to her there.

The victim said she told Abreu that she only had a few minutes to get to the store to get diapers for her child before the store closed. Abreu then reportedly asked her why she didn’t go to a different store closer to her job before heading in the direction of her home, indicating that he had been watching her prior to her leaving from work and knew where she had gone. She stated that he reached into the vehicle and grabbed her face, in the area of her jawline, with his hand. He allegedly forcefully moved her face and looked at her neck before commenting on marks that he had seen on her neck during the first assault that were no longer visible. She stated that he then let her go and told her he would see her again and that she was not to tell anyone about their interactions.

The victim stated that the next day, October 29th, she was so fearful that Abreu would return to her place of employment that her fiance drover her to work and dropped her off. He then arrived to pick her up shortly after 10 p.m. and observed a marked Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle in the parking lot with the headlights on. He reportedly videoed his vehicle, showing all of its lights were operational, and included the patrol vehicle in the video. He then saw the vehicle leave and go to an adjacent gas station and park next to a gas pump. The victim left work and went home, and had no further interaction with Abreu that day.

On Sunday, Detective Kirkpatrick conducted a recorded interview with Abreu at the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office. Abreu was informed of his Constitutional Rights and agreed to speak with Kirkpatrick, and in the first part of the interview, Abreu reportedly made numerous false statements, claiming that he recognized the victim’s friend from a distance because he was also a friend of his and that was the reason for approaching them Abreu also reportedly told Kirkpatrick that the victim and her friend were released from the encounter at the same time and left together, that no portion of his interaction was conducted with his camera systems turned off, and he denied having any contact with her in any way since the traffic stop.

The friend had been interviewed and stated that he did not know Abreu from any part of his life and that the interaction in the Kohl’s parking lot was the first time he could ever remember seeing him. He also stated that he was released from the stop and left prior to the victim being released.

During the recorded interview with the victim, a single-party consent call was conducted and recorded, during which Abreu spoke to the victim about the incident and apologized three separate times. Abreu also allegedly admitted that he had turned off the camera systems in his car and his body-worn camera after the initial approach and prior to engaging in the conversation at the driver side door of the victim’s vehicle. At the end of the interview, Abreu admitted to the sexual assault, stating that all of this happened in the Kohl’s parking lot during the first encounter he had with her. He allegedly maintained that the sexual contact was consensual.

As a result of the investigation, Abreu was taken into custody and charged with second degree rape, fourth degree sex offense, second degree assault, false imprisonment, sexual contact while a person is in law enforcement custody, and three counts of misconduct in office.

Abreu was held without bond and is anticipated to have a bond hearing before a District Court Judge on Monday. Abreu has been employed with the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office less than one year and has been terminated as a result of this investigation.

The investigation remains open and ongoing, and we’re told Sheriff Lewis will provide more information as it becomes available. Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Detective Kirkpatrick at 410-548-4898.

Categories: Crime, Local News, Maryland