(PatriotWise.com) — A retired police officer in Philadelphia was sentenced to 15 to 40 years after pleading guilty to assaulting multiple women and girls, often while on duty in the back of his police vehicle, the Associated Press reported.
Patrick Heron, 54, who retired from the Philadelphia Police Department in 2019, was initially accused in 2022 of posing as an on-duty officer to lure young girls. In the course of the investigation, detectives uncovered videos and photos indicating Heron’s predatory behavior spanned more than 15 years and included dozens of young women and girls, including runaways, drug addicts, and those under arrest.
Heron pleaded guilty last Friday after his defense reached an agreement with prosecutors ahead of a trial on over 200 counts that included child rape, kidnapping, child pornography, and other related offenses, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
According to the chief of the District Attorney’s special investigations unit, Lyandra Retacco, Heron’s crimes spanned from 2005 until 2022, with Heron encountering many of his victims while serving on the force.
So far, investigators have identified forty-eight victims from photos and videos on Heron’s devices; however, the identities of many of them are still unknown. Retacco said some of the victims contacted the District Attorney’s Office after seeing Heron’s picture on the news, and there are likely even more victims who have not yet come forward.
In a statement last Friday, Jane Roh, a spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s office, said Heron’s victims welcomed the plea deal as they were spared the trauma of enduring a trial.
Heron’s attorney, Anthony List, also said he hoped that the guilty plea would spare Heron’s victims the anguish of testifying and that “hopefully everyone can move on.”
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