Chester Police Officer Charged With Assault Had Job Despite History of Alleged Sexual Misconduct - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Chester Police Officer Charged With Assault Had Job Despite History of Alleged Sexual Misconduct

Why did a Chester police officer with a history of alleged sexual misconduct still have a job? NBC10 investigates.



    Why Did Officer With History of Alleged Sexual Misconduct Stay on the Job?

    A Chester Police officer was charged last year with allegedly groping and forcibly kissing a woman while on the job. Now questions are arising regarding why he had the job in the first place when he had a history of alleged sexual misconduct. NBC10 investigates and speaks to one of his accusers.

    (Published Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018)

    A woman who investigators say was groped and forcibly kissed by a Chester police officer is speaking out as questions arise regarding why the officer had the job despite his history of alleged sexual misconduct.

    Carla Kirksey was in tears while speaking to NBC10 about Chester police officer Albert Dion Ross.

    "I'm not crying because I'm scared," Kirksey said. "I'm crying because I'm mad. Because he took advantage of the situation."

    Kirksey said she first saw Officer Ross in August of 2015 when they rode an elevator together in the city building that houses the Chester Police Department. While in the elevator, Ross allegedly groped and forcibly kissed her.

    "Instantly, pulled my boob out," Kirksey said. "And kissed it and sucked it. And come up from here and kissed my mouth! And I'm just shocked. I'm stunned. Nobody ever expects that to happen."

    Kirksey is one of four women who are now set to testify against Ross who investigators say has a history of sexual misconduct. During one incident, he allegedly told a woman to show him her breasts after responding to a call at her home. Detectives also say Ross was dismissed from a job as a corrections officer for sexually harassing a subordinate and was also accused of forcibly kissing another woman when he was employed by the Chester Housing Authority Police Department.

    All of Ross' accusers say he assaulted them while on the job for the city of Chester. Late last summer, NBC10 received a tip alleging that Chester's city council knew about the earlier concerns surrounding Ross but chose to look the other way.

    Former Chester Police Commissioner Joseph Bail was in Ross' job interview with the Chester City Council. He told NBC10 Ross admitted to the sexual harassment incident as well as the incident at the Chester Housing Authority. Bail believes the interview process should have stopped there.

    "You don't do this," Bail said. "If you know they have this prior problem, you don't do it."

    Bail and former Chester Mayor John Linder insist Ross had an influential leader on his side, Councilwoman Portia West. According to Linder, Councilwoman West helped Ross get the job and was an advocate for him even while knowing his history.

    "Oh she actually said that she was a friend of his mother's and he was a really good boy," Bail said.

    Bail and Linder say they were so concerned about Ross' history that they tried to contain him. According to records from state police, on two separate occasions, six months apart, both men refused to sign Ross' state credentials letter. Without the credential, Ross wasn't allowed to patrol on the streets.

    After Linder and Bail left their leadership roles however, Ross was made a full officer. He was arrested on charges of assault and official oppression only a year and a half later.

    "We told them more than once," Linder said. "And we drew the ire of the entire council because we told them that this guy was bad news."

    For several weeks, NBC10 tried to ask Councilwoman West about why Ross was hired but never received a response. West also didn't comment at the end of a council meeting NBC10 attended. 

    A spokesperson for Councilwoman West said the city solicitor had told employees, including council members, not to speak about the topic because of the pending litigation. While Kirksey doesn't have the answers she wants, she's eager for her day in court.

    "I'm just sick by it," Kirksey said. "And it sucks. It sucks that they gave him this position and a badge to go around and do what he did!"

    In January, a magistrate judge ruled that there is sufficient evidence for the case against Ross to move forward. His first pre-trial conference is set for Monday.