Ex-Philadelphia officer once hailed as hero faces charges
By The Associated Press
Published: Saturday, May 18, 2013, 6:18 p.m.
PHILADELPHIA — A former Philadelphia police officer once hailed as a hero and given a seat next to the first lady at a speech by President Obama has been arrested and charged with rape and other crimes.
Authorities allege that former officer Richard DeCoatsworth left a party with two females early Thursday and took them to another location, where they allege that he produced a handgun and “forced the two females to engage in the use of narcotics and sexual acts.”
A police spokeswoman said the two called police after he left, and 27-year-old DeCoatsworth was charged with rape, sexual assault, terroristic threats and related offenses.
DeCoatsworth was hailed as a hero after he was shot in the face during a traffic stop in September 2007 but still managed to chase after his attacker, who was later sentenced to 36 to 72 years in prison.
DeCoatsworth was invited by Vice President Joe Biden to attend the president's televised February 2009 address to Congress and sat with first lady Michelle Obama. He said he didn't know why he had been singled out, but being in the presence of the nation's leaders was an honor “that I will keep with me for the rest of my life.”
WCAU-TV, which first reported his arrest, said DeCoatsworth retired from the department on disability in December 2011.
Police said no other information on the alleged attack would be released Saturday to protect the victims and the integrity of the ongoing investigation. Authorities declined to say give even general locations for the party and alleged crime scene and also wouldn't say when DeCoatsworth was arrested.
A listed number for DeCoatsworth has been disconnected and it was unclear whether he had an attorney.
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey told a Philadelphia Daily News columnist in February of last year that he believed he had made a mistake in granting the former officer's request to go back to work too soon after he was shot.
“God bless him for still wanting to get out there and do police work, but did I act in his best interest? In hindsight, I would say probably not,” Ramsey told columnist Stu Bykofsky.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Contract arranged Pennsylvania Game Commission director’s early exit
- Gas tax could factor into Pennsylvania gubernatorial race
- Worker for Latrobe-based Xcoal on ill-fated flight
- CSX makes deal with state on shipments of hazardous materials
- Pennsylvania man pleads guilty to threat against Obama
- Supreme Court ruling to affect few bicycle trails in Pennsylvania
- Military veteran ID cards granted on honor system
- Pennsylvania drug program portrayed as a life-saving tool
- Advocates criticize Pa. plan to expand Medicaid program
- GOP says privatizing LCB could aid budget
- Robert Morris University Polling Institute poll finds value of college in doubt