The truth is ugly and will not restore Richard DeCoatsworth’s reputation as the “hero cop,” concedes defense attorney L. George Parry.
But it may set him free – or, Parry says, at least give DeCoatsworth the chance to make bail.
DeCoatsworth, 27, has been held in prison on $60-million bail, charged with sexually assaulting and holding captive two women. And though Philadelphia court rules require him to post only 10 percent, for an ex-cop $6 million in cash or property is a distinction without a difference.
Parry filed a motion Friday asking a Philadelphia judge to give him access to DeCoatsworth’s cell phone, which police seized when they arrested him on May 18.
Why the motion? The Philadelphia District Attorney’s office announced June 10 that was taking its case against DeCoatsworth before a grand jury. Once the cell-phone evidence is submitted to the grand jury, Parry said, “the defense will be denied access to that evidence.”
Parry says DeCoatsworth’s cell phone, voice mails and call records will show that he is not a predatory rapist who kidnapped two women but a “john” who got into a dispute with two prostitutes that got out of hand. The police version of events could put DeCoatsworth behind bars for life; the defense version will be just one more sad chapter in the life of a cop lauded as a hero as a rookie in 2007 and locked up six years later.
Assistant District Attorney Joseph McGlynn said he could not comment because of the grand jury’s secrecy rules. Parry’s motion is likely to be argued Monday when Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Charles Ehrlich has asked the lawyers to update him and revisit DeCoatsworth’s request for lower bail.
According to police and prosecutor, DeCoatsworth allegedly threatened the two women with a gun, forced them to use drugs and engage in sexual activity while holding them captive in his Port Richmond house.
Parry said the case “is a lot less than what it seems.” He said DeCoatsworth had actually moved into one of the prostitute’s house in Kensington after going from customer to live-in boyfriend and chauffeur.
Parry’s motion contends that both women were prostitutes and drug users long before either met DeCoatsworth. Parry’s motion contains more printouts such as the ones he gave Ehrlich on June 10: screen-shots of Internet web pages from February that Parry says shows the alleged victims offering sex.
DeCoatsworth was acclaimed as a hero in 2007 when as a 21-year-old rookie took a shotgun blast to the face. Bleeding heavily and returning fire, DeCoatsworth chased his attacker for several blocks before collapsing and radioing for help.
The gunman was caught and later pleaded guilty in the shooting. DeCoatsworth underwent extensive surgery and returned to duty in June 2008. The incident led to an invitation to sit next to First Lady Michelle Obama during the president’s 2009 State of the Union address.