Many charges dropped before sex crimes trial of ex-detective

Sex assault
Philip Nordo
Philadelphia Police Department

A former Philadelphia homicide detective is set for trial this week on charges he sexually assaulted male suspects and witnesses over his long career. But prosecutors were forced to drop more than half of the charges Monday over a missing accuser.

The 2019 grand jury presentment accused Philip Nordo of rape, sexual assault, intimidation and the theft of city funds. The investigation led to a review of his police work and contributed to the reversal of several homicide convictions, including one involving a special needs athlete killed over his headphones.

Nordo, 55, has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Jury selection in his case is set to start Tuesday, after prosecutors on Monday told the judge they could not find one of the alleged victims.

“We’ve not been able to locate him,” Assistant District Attorney Brian Collins told the city judge, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. He said the office had even tried to set up a drug sting to locate the man, whose complaint involved rape, institutional sexual assault and official oppression, the newspaper said.

Nordo’s lawyer, Michael van der Veen, did not immediately return a call for comment. A spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office confirmed that some of the charges, including a rape charge, had been dropped.

Authorities alleged in the grand jury report that Nordo used his position to intimidate and groom male suspects and witnesses into sexual acts. 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.


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