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Former Hero Officer Accused of Rape Costs City Millions

A source tells NBC10 the former officer forced the women to use drugs and perform oral sex on him at gunpoint

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey showed no remorse over the alleged bad behavior of a former "hero" cop who is now being held on a $60 million dollar bail -- charged with sex assaults at gunpoint. (Published Monday, May 20, 2013)

    Former Philadelphia police officer Richard DeCoatsworth, once honored by President Barack Obama for his heroism, remains in jail on $60 million bail for allegedly raping two women -- forcing one into prostitution.

    Now, NBC10 has learned the City of Philadelphia is spending more than $1.5 million defending itself against DeCoatsworth's checkered past on the force.

    Law enforcement sources say DeCoatsworth had nine citizen complaints against him over his nearly five year stint with the department. The complains, sources say, included allegations of assault, abuse and misconduct.

    Issues with the 27-year-old began to arise in 2005 when he was in the Philadelphia Police Academy. DeCoatsworth allegedly injured a Girard Avenue business owner during a fight. However, he was allowed to remain a recruit despite the allegations.

    Former Hero Officer Charged With Rape

    [PHI] Former Hero Officer Charged With Rape
    A former Philadelphia Police Officer once hailed a hero is now in jail on $60 million bail after he allegedly raped two women at gunpoint. NBC10's Katy Zachry has the latest details. (Published Sunday, May 19, 2013)

    In 2007 as a rookie officer, DeCoatsworth was severely injured after being shot in the face. After being shot, he managed to chase down the suspect for several blocks before collapsing. He called in enough information by radio that police were able to track down and arrest the suspect later the same day.

    His actions earned him an invitation from Vice President Joe Biden to attend President Obama’s first congressional address at the U.S. Capital in February 2009. The officer sat in the gallery with First Lady Michelle Obama during the speech. He was also honored by his peers as a 2008 Top Cop.

    Bail Set at $60M for Hero Officer Charged With Rape

    [PHI] Bail Set at $60M for Hero Officer Charged With Rape
    Bail was set at $60 million Saturday for a former Philadelphia police officer Richard Decoatsworth who has been charged with raping two women at gunpoint. NBC10's Nefertiti Jaquez reports on the developing case. (Published Sunday, Jun 9, 2013)

    Soon after, though, he was involved in two more dramatic incidents.

    In April 2009, police say DeCoatsworth was jumped and attacked by a man when he tried to disperse a crowd at the Logan section of the city. During the struggle, sources say DeCoatsworth’s gun went off and hit the suspect who took off running. Another officer responding to the scene shot the suspect dead, according to sources.

    Hero Officer Charged With Raping Women

    [PHI] Hero Officer Charged With Raping Women
    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 raping two women and other crimes. Former officer Richard DeCoatsworth was arrested and charged Saturday with rape, sexual assault, terroristic threats and related offenses. NBC10's Cydney Long reports. (Published Saturday, May 18, 2013)

    In September 2009, DeCoatsworth and another officer stopped a man on a motorcycle in the Kensington section of the city. While they were questioning him, a second man allegedly jumped on the motorcycle and drove at the officers. Police say DeCoatsworth shot at the suspect, who sped off. The suspect was found later at the hospital where his mother had taken him to be treated for a shotgun wound.

    During the incident, local witnesses claimed the two suspects did nothing wrong and that DeCoatsworth and the other officer acted recklessly -- shooting while children were nearby.

    Hero Officer Arrested

    [PHI] Hero Officer Arrested
    A former Philadelphia Police Officer once hailed a hero was arrested on Saturday for allegedly holding two women captive. NBC10's Katy Zachry has the details. (Published Saturday, May 18, 2013)

    In November 2011, Internal Affairs investigated an alleged scuffle between DeCoatsworth and another officer, according to Philly.com.

    DeCoatsworth retired from the police force on disability back in December 2011.

    In February of 2012, an arrest warrant was issued for DeCoatsworth after he allegedly threatened a woman in Port Richmond.

    The most recent incident began two weeks ago after DeCoatsworth allegedly met a woman at a bar on North Front Street. Police say the former officer forced the woman into prostitution at a Days Inn hotel along Roosevelt Boulevard in the Lawncrest section of the city.

    Then, between 2 a.m. Thursday and Friday evening, DeCoatsworth went to the woman’s home along North Howard Street in the Fishtown-Kensington area, according to a law enforcement source close to the investigation.

    Once he arrived, DeCoatsworth allegedly forced that woman and a second woman, both in their 20s, to use drugs and perform oral sex on him at gunpoint. The alleged victims reported the assault Friday only after DeCoatsworth went home, according to police.

    Police raided DeCoatsworth’s house on the 2700 block of Salmon Street in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia around 6:30 a.m. on Saturday.

    He was arraigned and charged with rape, sexual assault, terroristic threats and other related offenses. Police also confiscated drugs and guns from the home, according to a source. No word yet on what kind of drugs were removed from the home.

    According to court documents, bail was set at $25 million for each of the alleged victims. Another $10 million bail was set in a separate domestic violence case DeCoatsworth is now being charged with, according to investigators.

    Police say he assaulted his live-in girlfriend on May 9. The $60 million bail is reportedly one of the highest set in Philadelphia history.

    DeCoatsworth faces more than 32 crimes in all three cases. He is scheduled for another court appearance on June 17.

    One of DeCoatsworth’s neighbors said she was relieved to hear about his arrest.

    “I am scared to be saying this now but I hope he stays where he is at, he has been a thorn in the side of this neighborhood for so long,” said the woman who did not want to be identified.

    Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter's Office says of the nine complaints lodged against DeCoatsworth -- one resulted in a lawsuit. The suit alleged DeCoatsworth used aggressive behavior while on the job.

    The city settled that suit for $1.5 million. However, officials say Philadelphia has accrued other legal costs related to DeCoatsworth.

    Last year, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey told police he believed he failed DeCoatsworth by letting him go back to work with a stressful unit too soon after he was shot in the face.

    "I think I screwed up on that," Ramsey told the Daily News. "I think I should have given him more time. He didn't want more time but I should have done that."

    In light of his most recent arrest however, Ramsey had much harsher words for DeCoatsworth on Monday.

    "He has to be held accountable," Ramsey said. "Just like anybody else. There should be no special consideration given simply because he once served as a police officer."

    DeCoatsworth is being held on $60 million bail. A figure that is rarely seen in the U.S. criminal justice system.

    Philadelphia District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Tasha Jamerson said prosecution did not request a high bail amount, rather that DeCoatsworth be held without bail.

    “Being held without bail is the highest bail situation you could face as a defendant in Philadelphia," Jamerson said, “At DeCoatsworth's arraignment on Saturday, we requested that he be held without bail, but the judge instead chose to impose bail at $60 million.”

    Other high-profile cases, including federal trials held in Pennsylvania, have included large sums, but none are near what the 27-year-old is held on.

    While many with similarly egregious crimes are held without bail, some are held on bonds that reach into the millions of dollars.

    Christina Regusters, the 20-year old woman charged with abducting and raping a 5-year old girl in Cobbs Creek, is currently held on $4 million bond.

    Ariel Castro, the Ohio man who is facing four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape for holding three women captive in his home for a decade, is held on only $8 million.

    While DeCoatsworth is listed as being represented by a public defender, family members are currently helping him acquire an attorney.

    NBC10's Emad Kahlil contributed to this report.