Former Philadelphia hero cop faces rape charges

May 18, 2013 9:57:51 PM PDT
A former Philadelphia police officer, who was praised for his bravery, is behind bars Saturday night accused of raping two women at gunpoint.

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 later arrested.

Neighbors say police took DeCoatsworth into custody early Saturday morning from his Port Richmond on the 2700 block of Salmon Street.

According to court records, DeCoatsworth was arraigned Saturday night on charges including rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, trafficking of persons, false imprisonment and aggravated assault. His bail was set at $60 million.

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.

It was an act of valor that got him an invitation from Vice President Joe Biden to attend the president's televised February 2009 address to Congress and a seat next to First Lady Michelle Obama.

He said at that time, 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."

DeCoatsworth retired from the department on disability in December 2011.

Residents around his Salmon Street home say they have had a number of incidents with him since he moved there.

"I think that since he got shot, he is not the same person," said one neighbor.

In February of last year, Action News reported how DeCoatsworth was charged with harassment and simple assault after getting into an argument with a neighbor.

His neighbors say they tried to stay clear of him.

"He was really scary to me, very intimidating, very threatening, and I don't get intimidated very often, but he was really scared me," she said.

Reports say Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said back 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 said.

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 give the locations of the party or the alleged crime scene.

Action News has learned that DeCoatsworth is being charged with attacking a third woman, his ex girlfriend, who investigators say he choked and punched in the face last week.

DeCoatsworth is due back in court in June.


Load Comments