A veteran D.C. police officer who is also youth choir director is accused of sexually assaulting a girl at his family's church in Southeast Washington while she was in junior high.

Wendel Palmer, 44, was arrested Wednesday and charged with first-degree child sexual abuse.

According to charging documents, the investigation began in March when the victim's mother learned of the alleged incidents and called authorities.

The victim told police that the sexual abuse began around 2004 when she was 11 and Palmer was the youth choir director at a church in the 2400 block of Martin Luther King Avenue SE.

Palmer typically would send the other children in the choir to the store and have the young girl stay back with him, according to court documents.

Much of the abuse occurred inside the preacher's office, but also at other places in and around the District, documents said.

"There were too many incidents to count," the victim told investigators.

The abuse continued from the time she was in the sixth grade to the eighth grade, documents said.

Palmer, who joined the D.C. police in 1990, has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the criminal charges.