Former Hero Officer Has $60M Bail Reduced, Judge Calls It "Inappropriate"

Bail dropped by tens of millions of dollars in the former officer's rape and assault case

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    At a hearing on Monday, Common Pleas Judge Charles Ehrlich reduced Richard DeCoatsworth's bail to $3 million. For DeCoatsworth to be released, he must come up with 10 percent, which $300,000. NBC10's Daralene Jones reports. (Published Monday, Jul 1, 2013)

    Bail has been cut by tens of millions of dollars for a former hero Philadelphia police officer who has been indicted on allegations he raped and assaulted women.

    Richard DeCoatsworth, 27, has been held since May 18 on $60 million bail for allegedly forcing two women to take drugs and perform oral sex on him at gunpoint. Police also claim he forced one of those women into prostitution and assaulted his girlfriend in separate incidents.

    Defense attorney L. George Parry said the unusually high bail was highest ever levied in Pennsylvania history.

    At a motions hearing Monday, Common Pleas Judge Charles Ehrlich called the multi-million dollar bail "inappropriate" as he drastically reduced the amount to $3 million. DeCoatsworth must post 10-percent of the total -- or $300,000 -- to be released from prison.

    DeCoastworth will be subject to house arrest if he posts bail and will not be allowed to have contact with guns or illegal drugs.

    The former officer would also need to have a judge's approval before leaving his home and will be required to wear a GPS monitoring bracelet.

    Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Joseph McGlynn argued against the reduction in bail saying DeCoatsworth was a flight risk. According to McGlynn, he has family members in Florida and his car is also registered in the state.

    DeCoatsworth has been locked up at the city's prison complex in Northeast Philadelphia since May, in a cell bock reserved for the city's most dangerous criminals.

    Parry previously said his client was being mistreated in prison. Parry said DeCoatsworth had been held in isolation and was not allowed to wear clothing the first week in prison.

    The bail reduction hearing has stretched on for weeks. The first hearing was continued twice until Monday's proceedings.

    On June 18, DeCoatsworth was indicted on 13 crimes including rape, trafficking of persons, promoting prostitution, witness intimidation and possession of drug paraphernalia. The indictments came down following a grand jury investigation into the former officer's alleged activities.

    The 27-year-old had previously been charged with 32 crimes in the three cases.

    DeCoatsworth was shot in the face during a September 2007 traffic stop. After being shot, he chased the suspect for some time before collapsing. Police say he was able to radio enough information about the shooter for other officers to nab him.

    He was honored for his heroism in 2008 with a Top Cop award and sat next to First Lady Michelle Obama during President Barack Obama’s first address to congress at the U.S. Capitol.

    DeCoatsworth left the Philadelphia Police force on disability in December 2011.

    Judge Ehrlich also put a gag order in place in the case at the hearing Monday. That will prevent the prosecution and defense from speaking publicly about the proceedings.


    Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.