A Philadelphia homicide detective was arrested yesterday for grooming, and raping male witnesses during criminal investigations. In what prosecutors described as a decade-long pattern of abuse and then intimidation, Phillip Nordo apparently conducted his personal perverted plot in order to satisfy his own base desires.
Nordo, who was fired in 2017 after 20 years on the force, was under investigation for two years and the charges were unveiled in a grand jury presentment outlining multiple counts each of rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, and sexual assault.
“Some of the allegations were redacted, with entire pages of the 38-page document blacked out. Names and details of those allegedly raped by Nordo were among the redactions.”
The grand jury found that Nordo “repeatedly contacted young men that he sought to groom,” and used threats and flattery to “make the targets of his advances more susceptible to his sexually assaultive and/or coercive behavior.”
“Prosecutors said Nordo’s tactics included threatening to arrest or jail suspects without probable cause, fraudulently steering reward money their way, and projecting his dominance — sometimes by displaying his firearm, other times by targeting handcuffed prisoners.”
The abuse occurred in interrogation rooms and prison visiting rooms. Nordo also allegedly went out of his way “to find potential victims, either by asking prisoners about ‘homosexual inmates’ who might soon be released, or by volunteering to transport inmates and witnesses for other detectives.”
Because of his actions, the case will likely lead to countless challenges to various homicide convictions.
Nordo was arraigned Tuesday and ordered held without bail. His attorney objected, claiming that the charges only warrant $10,000 bond, but the judge apparently disagreed.
Nordo is being held in confinement with the very victims he used.
The detective claims that he’s innocent, and that the charges are motivated by ‘political forces.’
“Van der Veen entered the case after the police union declined to provide Nordo legal representation. John McNesby, president of the union, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, said Tuesday that he had not yet read the presentment.”
Police Commissioner Richard Ross said in an interview Tuesday that he was “deeply disturbed” by the allegations, but said there was no reason to believe others within the department were involved in the schemes.
“It is not systemic, but I don’t get a lot of solace over that,” said Ross, who said the behavior was “absolutely sickening.”
“Nordo joined the Police Department in 1997, the presentment says. A 1999 Daily News article described him as a third-generation cop who was married with two children. He became a detective in 2002 and joined the Homicide Unit in 2009, the presentment says, and became known as a productive investigator often assigned complex or challenging cases.”
“In the only specific instance of assault left unredacted in the presentment, prosecutors said that while Nordo was a member of the East Detective Division in 2005, he directed a man during questioning to masturbate, then touched and kissed the man during the act. The man, who remained in custody after the assault, reported it to police the next day, the document says.
“Investigators later found physical evidence to support the man’s assertion, the document says, but Nordo remained on the force.”
However, the man assaulted by Nordo was killed in 2015, and the case was never solved.
The rest of the accusations were blacked out, but he is also facing other stalking, official oppression, and sexual assault counts.