A former Philadelphia homicide detective is accused of raping and sexually assaulting multiple male witnesses and suspects for over a decade.
Philip Nordo, 52, was arrested Tuesday on more than 35 charges in connection with allegations that he used his officer position to intimidate and groom male suspects and witnesses into sexual acts. Amongst those dozens of charges, he’s accused of threatening and stalking the alleged sexual assault victims.
The former detective was fired in 2017 after an allegation was received that he had improperly paid a witness and had fraternized with people connected to criminal conduct. Nordo has been an officer since 1997, a detective since 2002, and part of the Homicide Task Force for 10 years.
He has pleaded not guilty to the allegations.
There are at least three alleged victims. According to a grand jury report, Nordo allegedly told some of them that if they tried to report his assaults on them, they wouldn't be believed because “he was a detective and they were not” and “Nordo implied that coming forward would cause serious problems for them,” according to the Philadelphia Tribune. Some of the alleged abuse took place inside interrogation rooms and prison visiting rooms. Nordo also allegedly targeted handcuffed or shackled victims, according to local outlet the Morning Call.
One alleged victim claimed he was forced to masturbate by Nordo during an interrogation in 2005. He reported it to police, who later found evidence that could support that allegation, but Nordo was not fired at that time, reported the Morning Call. That alleged victim was murdered in a 2015 killing that has remained unsolved. His identity and manner of death has not been disclosed.
Nordo is being held without bail. His lawyer said during a preliminary arraignment that Nordo maintains his innocence. He appeared to blame local politics.
"There are a lot of political forces involved in this case, going back from the old district attorney's office the fraternal order of police to all kinds of interests throughout the city," Nordo’s attorney Michael van der Veen said, according to the Philadelphia Tribune.
Police Commissioner Richard Ross told the Morning Call he was “deeply disturbed” by the allegations, but maintains that the department didn’t cover up his alleged crimes.
“It is not systemic, but I don't get a lot of solace over that,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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