Former Philly detective arrested, accused of grooming and sexually assaulting male witnesses
52-year-old Philip Nordo was arraigned this week and was ordered to be held without bond. His lawyer stated the former detective's intent to fight the case.
A former Philadelphia homicide detective was arrested and accused of grooming and sexually assaulting male witnesses during criminal investigations, and threatening them to keep them quiet. Prosecutors revealed that 52-year-old Philip Nordo's misconduct was spread out over the course of a decade, with court documents stating he "used his position of authority to engage in police misconduct involving interviews of potential witnesses and suspects."
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the accusations against Nordo were unveiled in a grand jury presentment at the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia County and saw the former detective charged with multiple counts of rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, and sexual assault, as well as stalking and official oppression.
Nardo joined the Philadelphia Police Department in 1997, became a detective in 2002, and then the homicide unit in 2009. While the charging document lists out one of his alleged misconducts from 2005, it was in April 2017 that a defense attorney in a pending murder case found the 52-year-old had been improperly placing money in the account of an imprisoned witness. The case against the attorney's client was eventually dropped after a judge slammed Nordo for "outrageous" misconduct.
Just two months later, Nordo was fired for departmental violations including "knowingly and intentionally associating, fraternizing, or socializing" with those connected to criminal conduct, and some of the details of his misconduct began emerging.
The charging documents alleges the 52-year-old cultivated relationships with male suspects and witnesses by grooming them and "engaging in conduct to make the targets of his advances more susceptible to his sexually assaultive and coercive behavior."
The documents state his misconduct mostly occurred in interrogation rooms and at correctional facilities and also accused him of inappropriately staring or looking at the victims' penises, commenting on their size, and asking incarcerated individuals to refer him to "homosexual inmates."
One particular April 2005 incident detailed in the documents say the detective directed a suspect of a robbery to begin masturbating, and that while the victim masturbated, he began touching him and massaging his penis. The incident was reported and investigators even found physical evidence to support the man's assertion, but Nordo would continue in his role on the force. The victim died in 2015 in a homicide and the case has not been solved.
It states he got access to these individuals by "volunteering to handle ministerial work for other detectives" and by "volunteering to transport inmates and witnesses for other detectives," which allowed him to also meet more potential victims and mask his interactions with them.
The documents also say, to ensure he was not caught, Nordo intimidated the witnesses by "prominently" displaying his firearm during his crimes. He would also mostly target individuals who were in custody or restrained with handcuffs or leg shackles so it would reduce their ability to resist or report the assault. He also reportedly attempted to impair their credibility and told them the authorities would never believe them if they reported the assault because of his position as a detective.
Nordo was arraigned this past Tuesday, February 19, and was ordered to be held without bail. Philly reported the comments of his lawyer, Michael T. van der Veen, who said his client maintains his innocence and intends to fight the case.