Ex-Cop Who Sexually Assaulted Dozens Hears His Fate

Former Philly police officer Patrick Heron, 54, is sentenced to 15 to 40 years in state prison
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 21, 2023 11:30 AM CDT
Ex-Cop Who Sexually Assaulted Dozens Hears His Fate
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/MattGush)

A former Philadelphia police officer has been sentenced to 15 to 40 years in state prison after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting women and girls—often while in uniform and in the back of his police vehicle, per the AP. Patrick Heron, 54, entered his pleas Friday after reaching an agreement with prosecutors in advance of a trial on more than 200 counts that included child sex assault, child pornography, kidnapping, and related offenses, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Jane Roh, spokesperson for the Philadelphia district attorney's office, said victims who are now spared the trauma of a trial welcomed the guilty plea. Defense attorney Anthony List also said he hoped the plea would spare the victims the anguish of having to testify, adding, "Hopefully everyone can move on."

Heron, who retired from the force in 2019, was initially accused last year of posing as an active officer to lure girls. Investigators said they later found photos and videos indicating predatory behavior spanning years and including dozens of often vulnerable young women and girls, including those who'd run away, been arrested, or struggled with addiction. Lyandra Retacco, chief of the prosecutors' special investigations unit, said the crimes occurred from 2005 through last year, and that Heron met many victims while on the force. She said investigators have identified 48 victims, though many of their identities remain unknown, and more likely haven't come forward.

(More Philadelphia stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.