An Anne Arundel police detective charged with soliciting prostitutes on the job was sentenced to five years of probation Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to two charges of misconduct in office.
Brian Houseman, 45, of Caroline County, agreed to resign from the Anne Arundel County Police Department, where he worked as a detective in the Eastern District for more than a decade.
Circuit Court Judge Glenn Klavans sentenced Houseman to two concurrent three-year sentences, with the length of the incarceration fully suspended as Houseman serves his probation and resigns from the department.
The former detective must also not apply to become a law enforcement officer during the length of his sentence as part of the agreement.
Assistant State’s Attorney Jason Knight said prosecutors agreed to drop a number of other prostitution and misconduct-related charges and recommended probation.
Houseman said little during Tuesday’s hearing in Annapolis, choking through tears as he apologized for “the embarrassment I caused the department.”
Police said last year Houseman attempted to solicit prostitutes on duty in March and April 2017.
Police wrote in charging documents that on March 10, Houseman used the “KiK” social media application to set up a time to meet with a woman in Brooklyn to exchange money for sex while he was on duty.
Knight said the two met that afternoon while Houseman was still working his 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. shift.
In the April incident, police said he attempted to solicit another prostitute using his personal cellphone, again while on duty.
Houseman’s attorney, John Robinson III, said the detective was previously struggling with opioid addiction and “lost the career he loved.”
In a statement, county police Chief Timothy Altomare said police officers “exist to protect people and when that trust is betrayed, those who betray that trust must be held accountable.”
In asking for a five-year probation sentence, Knight said Houseman was “clearly in violation of everything the police department is supposed to be doing,” adding that it was his intent to “prey on individuals while operating under the color and the authority of his badge.”
Prosecutors dropped two other misconduct cases as part of the plea agreement, including one where investigators had recommended he be charged with extortion.
In that case, police wrote in charging documents a woman showed investigators two pictures sent by Houseman on Nov. 25 from his county-issued cell phone, “one of his face immediately followed by one of his penis.”
The woman said that Houseman told her that in exchange for sex, he would “put in a good word” for her ex-boyfriend, who had been arrested for violating a protective order. It is unclear if Houseman did anything on behalf of the man in question.
The other case involved the detective’s investigation into a woman who was eventually charged with placing a GPS tracking device on another police officer’s personal vehicle.
Houseman investigated a woman who Sef Martinez, an Anne Arundel police offficer, said had placed a tracking device on his vehicle as well as that of a female acquaintance’s.
Police wrote in charging documents that Houseman, who was investigating Martinez’s claim, then used information from that investigation to get the woman’s cell phone and pursue a sexual relationship. The charges against the woman were eventually dropped.
Robinson said he didn’t believe that Houseman had preyed on the women, but added “I think he used very bad, bad judgement.”
“He’s embarassed of himself.”
In sentencing Houseman, Klavans focused mostly on what he described as “the greater harm to the public’s perception” of police.
“We live in a time where the challenges to law enforcement are great,” Klavans said, adding that Houseman’s actions can erode the trust people put in police.
“That’s the great tragedy of this case,” he said.
Houseman was one of two officers from the department’s Eastern District charged with sex offenses in two weeks in early 2017.
Officer Bradly Tuthill, 33, was charged with fourth-degree sex offense and second-degree assault after a woman told police he touched her inappropriately hours after an official call to her home.
Charges against Tuthill, who had been with the department for three-and-a-half years after a stint with the Baltimore Police Department, were placed on in inactive docket in March, online court records show.
This story has been updated to correct the date of Houseman’s hearing and sentencing, which occurred Tuesday, May 29.