It must have been a slow night for crime in Port St. Lucie, Florida. With no scofflaws to apprehend during his overnight patrol shift, 27-year-old police officer Michael Harding pulled out his cell phone to do a little net surfing. Just one little problem — the married father of three, according to federal investigators, was uploading child pornography on a social media phone app called ‘Kik.’ Harding, going by the username ‘desthfromabovee’ was posting photos in a sexually-explicit chat room where users share child pornography.
Poor hobby choice, Officer Michael Harding.
During a subsequent sweep of Harding’s home, Federal investigators found a thumb drive hidden in a gun case chock full of photos and videos of … you guessed it … child pornography. Officer Harding was arrested, and the Port St. Lucie Police Department is cooperating fully with the Department of Homeland Security’s investigation of their ‘model’ police officer. Harding is currently being held without bond, and has been placed on unpaid administrative leave.
Harding, a 2008 graduate of Indian River State College, had, up until his arrest, an exemplary career as a police officer. He amassed quite a few commendations at both the Port St. Lucie Police Department and the Ft. Pierce Police Department, where he worked previously. Harding was named Ft. Pierce’s 2011 ‘Officer of the Year,’ and his alma mater posted a video of their ‘successful’ graduate on its website.
However, Harding’s yen for viewing children being sexually molested apparently escaped the normal police department hiring process, which includes extensive background checks, psychological examinations, and polygraph tests.
A police officer and a child pornographer — Officer Harding is going to do REALLY well in prison.