Phillip Nordo (above), 52, faces 35 counts of sexual assault, spanning his two-decade long career with the Philadelphia Police Department
A veteran Philadelphia Police detective has been accused of grooming and sexually assaulting multiple male victims, witnesses and suspects over the course of his 20-year career.
Phillip Nordo, 52, who first joined the force in 1997, faces 35 counts including rape, sexual assault, institutional sexual assault and stalking, court documents detailed.
According to a Philadelphia grand jury, the father-of-two is alleged to have exploited his status as a police officer, and homicide detective, to leverage relations with individuals connected to his cases.
As detailed in the 38-page document, Nordo stands accused of ‘repeatedly contacting young men that he sought to groom’, and then, using flattery and threats, he made ‘the targets of his advances more susceptible to his sexually assaulting and/or coercive behavior.’
Such threats, prosecutors say, included arresting or jailing suspects without probable cause, targeting handcuffed suspects and gesturing with his firearm to assert dominance.
Much of the abuse is said to have occurred in prison visiting rooms, or in interrogation rooms at the Philadelphia Police HQ (above). Nordo allegedly targeted handcuffed victims and asked about ‘homosexual inmates’ who were soon due for release
Much of the abuse is said to have occurred in prison visiting rooms or in interrogation rooms at the Philadelphia Police Department.
The document also claims Nordo would actively seek out vulnerable or potential victims, sometimes asking prisoners about ‘homosexual inmates’, or by volunteering to transport prisoners and witnesses for other officers.
He would also supposedly use small talk during initial meetings with his alleged victims to open a line of conversation to press more personal topics.
‘Nordo discussed these personal topics to test the person’s reaction and their likelihood to resist or comply,’ the document said. ‘At the end of these initial meetings, Nordo would give the victim his contact information.’
To cover his tracks, the court say Nordo employed a mixture of intimidation and incentives, and is believed to have fraudulently diverted more than $20,000 of crime reward money to people he was attempting to groom or had already assaulted.
Nordo was dismissed from the Philadelphia Police force in 2017, after two-decades.
He was arraigned on Tuesday and a judge ordered him to be held without bail.
The court document alleges that Nordo used flattery and threats to coerce his targets in sexual acts.
This reportedly included fraudulently administering $20,000 of reward money to alleged victims he was ‘attempting to groom’
Police Commissioner Richard Ross says he was ‘deeply disturbed’ by the accusations against Nordo, calling the details ‘sickening’.
Ross revealed the police department has carried out their own investigation and found no signs of conspiracy to assist Nordo or to cover up the allegations.
‘It is not systemic, but I don’t get a lot of solace over that,’ Ross said to
The heavily redacted court file highlights one 2005 incident in particular, where Nordo was interrogating the suspect of a robbery.
Though he later secured a signed confession from the suspect, the documents say he also forced the man to masturbate in front of him, massaged his penis and then kissed him on the lips.
When the man climaxed into a piece of paper, Nordo is claimed to have asked the man, ‘Do you want to put that in my mouth?’
He then reportedly told the suspect he ‘didn’t have anything to worry about’, and assured him he could make a lot of money if he didn’t speak out.
Police Commissioner Richard Ross (pictured) said the allegations listed against Nordo were ‘absolutely sickening’. Ross said an investigation of the department found no signs of a cover-up and insisted sexual assault wasn’t a systemic problem
Nordo’s attorney says he vehemently denies all 35 of the counts against him. He says the allegations are the result of unspecified ‘political forces’
The victim says he reported the assault the next day to different officers, and though investigators are said to have found physical evidence to support the claims, Nordo remained on the force.
The alleged victim later died in 2015 and the case remains unsolved.
Other accusations against Nordo are currently redacted in the file, but are said to include stalking, oppression and sexual assault.
Nordo’s attorney Michael van der Veen protests his client’s innocence and says the 52-year-old intends to fight the allegations, believing them to be motivated by unspecified ‘political forces’.
If found guilty, the array of charges will not only impact Nordo himself, but could see a number of cases he presided over be re-tried or thrown-out altogether.
Allegations of Nordo’s purportedly wrongful conduct first emerged in April 2017, when a defense attorney of a murder case found the former detective had been paying money into the accounts of an imprisoned witness.
In August the same year, Nordo was fired for ‘knowingly and intentionally associating, fraternizing, or socializing’ with individuals linked to criminal conduct.
A 1999 Daily News article described him as a third-generation police officer who was married with two children.
He became a detective in 2002 and joined the Homicide Unit in 2009, and was known as a productive investigator, according to the lawsuit.
Nordo awaits a preliminary court hearing.