Officers Indicted in Alleged Masturbation Civil Rights Case

A judge declared a mistrial in a previous case over an item not submitted into evidence

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Philadelphia Police
    Former Philadelphia Police Officer Joseph Harvey (left) and current Officer Sean Cahill have been arrested an indicted in a federal civil rights case.

    A former Philadelphia Police officer who previously beat a local criminal trial for allegedly forcing a woman to undress as he masturbated in front of her during a drug raid has been indicted in federal court.

    Joseph Harvey allegedly forced an unidentified woman to undress during a drug raid at an abandoned home in the Kensington section of the city on Oct. 8, 2009, according to court documents.

    A 24th District officer at the time, Harvey then allegedly masturbated as she was forced to sit there naked.

    The 39-year-old was brought up on charges and fired from the department, but a Philadelphia judge declared a mistrial in 2011 after a prosecutor brought up questions about the woman's pants. The pants were allegedly stained with Harvey's semen.

    "He was too disgusted to touch me, but he wasn't too disgusted to touch himself and ejaculate on my $70 friggin' pants," the victim testified at the time.

    The pants, however, were not introduced into the evidence list and the case was dismissed.

    Federal prosecutors then launched a grand jury investigation into the alleged crime, which found there was enough evidence for an indictment based on civil rights laws.

    Prosecutors contend Harvey, as an officer, violated the woman's civil rights by forcing her to undress as he allegedly committed the sexual act.

    A second officer, Sean Cahill, who currently is working on the Philadelphia Police force was also indicted in the case.

    Cahill, also a 24th District officer, allegedly lied to the FBI by saying Harvey was never alone with the victim, according to the indictment.

    Philadelphia Police arrested both men on Tuesday. Cahill has been suspended for 30 days with the intent to dismiss, according to police.

    Should Harvey be convicted, he could face up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. Cahill could serve up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.


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