Former Pittsburgh detective charged in prostitution sting

| Friday, March 25, 2011

A decorated former Pittsburgh police detective who resigned during an investigation into his conversations with a homicide suspect was arrested in a prostitution sting in Moon.

Police charged Talib Kevin Ghafoor, 55, of East Liberty with promoting prostitution, conspiracy and possessing instruments of a crime during an undercover bust at the Courtyard Marriott about 6 p.m. Wednesday.

"The implication that a law enforcement officer could now be involved in illegal behavior is, quite frankly, sickening. But like I said, everyone is cloaked in the presumption of innocence," Moon police Chief Leo McCarthy said.

Ghafoor was in the Allegheny County Jail on Thursday. No lawyer was listed in court records.

"It is a sad state of affairs and a blemish on the badge that we value so highly whenever any police officer is arrested, regardless if they are active or retired," Pittsburgh police Assistant Chief Maurita Bryant, a former supervisor, wrote in an e-mail. She declined to comment further.

Moon police set up a meeting with a woman identified in an online sex ad as "Sally," McCarthy said. When the woman arrived and reached an agreement with the undercover officer, she was arrested, McCarthy said.

The woman, identified as Sabina Sailer, 43, of Venice, Fla., told police the man who drove her to the hotel was waiting outside. She said he was her fiance and a former Pittsburgh officer, McCarthy said.

Officers arrested Ghafoor in the parking lot, McCarthy said.

Ghafoor resigned from the Pittsburgh police force in March 2008 after 21 years of service, and is drawing a pension from the city. An employee with the police pension office refused to say how much Ghafoor is paid from the pension.

Pittsburgh police investigated Ghafoor because of contradictory testimony he gave concerning what he said to a defendant in a 2006 homicide case. He said he was "aligned with both defendants" in the case, and called police and prosecutors "the enemy" in recorded jail phone calls with one of the defendants.

Allegheny County Sheriff William P. Mullen remembered Ghafoor working under him about 10 years ago when Mullen was assistant chief in charge of investigations for the department.

"He made a lot of drug arrests," said Mullen, who declined to comment on Ghafoor's arrest. "When he was in narcotics, he was doing a good job."

The department honored Ghafoor in 1999 and 2000 for his work to take illegal guns off the street.

Police charged Sailer with promoting prostitution, conspiracy, prostitution and possessing instruments of a crime. She also was in jail.

Ghafoor and Sailer have preliminary hearings scheduled for Tuesday.

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