Former Philadelphia homicide detective found guilty of sexual assault

The investigation has already contributed to the reversal of several homicide convictions.

Thursday, June 2, 2022
Former Philadelphia homicide detective found guilty of sexual assault
A former Philadelphia homicide detective was found guilty by a jury Wednesday on several charges, including sexual assault.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A veteran Philadelphia homicide detective was convicted of sexually assaulting or exploiting three male witnesses in a case that has led prosecutors to review dozens of homicide convictions.

Former detective Philip Nordo, 56, was taken into custody after the jury verdict Wednesday. A 2019 grand jury report accused him of using his position to intimidate and groom male suspects and witnesses into sexual acts.

The investigation has already contributed to the reversal of several homicide convictions, including one involving a special needs athlete killed over his headphones.

"We are going to hold people accountable, civilian or law enforcement, when they commit terrible crimes," District Attorney Larry Krasner said Wednesday. "That means we have to reconsider dozens of homicide convictions. It means there will be - there have been - exonerations."

Since 2018, the District Attorney's Office Conviction Integrity Unit flagged 90 cases that involved Nordo. In 50 of those cases, the DA's office determined Nordo's involvement did not taint the case. Currently, the office is investigating about 26-30 cases.

The reinvestigation of Nordo's homicide cases has resulted in five exonerations, two reduced sentences, one retrial, and four people are currently waiting for the court's decision on a retrial.

Mike Garmisa who heads DAO's Conviction Integrity Unit said they have contacted the families of homicide victims in all those cases.

"We certainly understand that the family of some victims may understand if we have an obligation to make sure we follow our ethical obligations. We make these decisions on a very individual and careful basis. And when we do conclude a conviction lacks integrity, we meet with the members of those families, and I have met with those families and they are disturbing and troubling conversations to have but we are going to follow the evidence wherever it points us," said Garmisa.

The defense team said that Nordo plans to appeal.

"There were enormous credibility issues with all three of these witness or complainants, and each of them told very different stories from the versions of events that they told the grand jury," lawyer Richard J. Fuschino Jr. said.

Prosecutors dropped more than half the charges before trial when they could not locate a fourth accuser. The jury then convicted Nordo on all of the remaining charges, including rape, stalking, official oppression and attempted sexual assault.

Nordo was charged in a 2019 grand jury presentment. The report said the meetings took place in hotel rooms, interview rooms and police vehicles, sometimes after Nordo displayed his firearm.

The theft charge involves allegations that Nordo filed false claims for $20,000 in city reward money and other funds to give to victims. Some of the reward money was intended to aid in the investigation of a slain officer, Krasner said.

Nordo is set to be sentenced in August.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.