Friday, December 26, 2014

Ex-cop DeCoatsworth charged with rape

Troubled former Philadelphia police officer Richard DeCoatsworth was arrested by police SWAT team members in Port Richmond on Saturday and charged with allegedly raping two women.

Ex-cop DeCoatsworth charged with rape

Richard DeCoatsworth in happier times, as he joined first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden at a presidential address in 2009. (Associated Press/File)
Richard DeCoatsworth in happier times, as he joined first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden at a presidential address in 2009. (Associated Press/File)

Troubled former Philadelphia police officer Richard DeCoatsworth was arrested by police SWAT team members in Port Richmond on Saturday and charged with allegedly raping two women.

Police said DeCoatsworth, 27, met two women at a party at an unknown location about 2 a.m. on Thursday.  When the party ended, the women followed DeCoatsworth to another place – and then the situation took a disturbing turn.

DeCoatsworth allegedly pulled out a handgun and forced the women to do drugs and perform sex acts, police said. DeCoatsworth later left, and the women contacted police.

Law enforcement sources told the Daily News that DeCoatsworth was arrested about 6:30 a.m. inside a house on Almond Street near Somerset in Port Richmond.

The sources said DeCoatsworth held the women, whose names have not been released, against their will for two days.

DeCoatsworth was charged with rape, sexual assault, terroristic threats and related offenses.

“I haven’t spoken to Richie, but a family member did contact me. I expect to hear from him,” said attorney Jimmy Binns, who represented DeCoatsworth last February, when the former cop was accused of harassing a couple in Port Richmond.

The arrest adds another dark chapter in the life of DeCoatsworth, who attracted local and national praise after surviving a shotgun blast to the face while on duty in 2007, only to have his career gradually unravel until he resigned from the force in December 2011.  

DeCoatsworth returned to the force following the shooting and was transferred to the Police Department’s elite Highway Patrol Unit.

Vice President Joe Biden was among those who were moved by stories about DeCoatsworth’s bravery.  In 2009, Biden invited DeCoatsworth to sit alongside first lady Michelle Obama at a presidential address in Washington, D.C.

But DeCoatsworth’s star soon faded within the Police Department.  He was the subject of nine citizen complaints, and was involved in two police-involved shootings while on duty.

Before DeCoatsworth resigned, he was also involved in an on-duty scuffle with another officer that led to an Internal Affairs investigation.

A few months after Decoatsworth quit the force, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey told Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky that he believed it had been a mistake to allow the young cop to return to the force so soon after he had been shot.

“I feel bad about that because I don’t think we did enough to help this kid,” Ramsey said at the time.

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