Ex-cop Nordo charged with rape, sexual assault

Former detective Philip Nordo, of Somerton, has been charged with rape, sexual assault and other crimes. A grand jury report alleges he “groomed” suspects, witnesses and others.

Philip Nordo (Source: Philadelphia Police)

Former homicide detective and Somerton resident Philip Nordo was arrested Tuesday, Feb. 19, and charged with multiple counts of rape, sexual assault and other crimes relating to his time as a Philadelphia police officer.

Nordo, 52, who was fired in 2017, is accused of grooming male suspects, witnesses and others in an attempt to make it easier for him to sexually assault them, according to a grand jury report obtained by the Northeast Times.

In one instance described in the report, Nordo allegedly kissed and intimately touched a robbery suspect after he asked the suspect to masturbate in front of him.

Nordo, who lives on the 15000 block of Kallaste Drive, pleaded not guilty to all charges Tuesday, and his attorney, Michael T. van der Veen, said Nordo is maintaining his innocence.

Van der Veen, in an interview with the Times, suggested divisions within the police department have corrupted the case against Nordo.

“They’re politics within the police department that are at play here,” Van der Veen said. “There are factions that support him and there are factions that do not support him, and it’s had an impact on the investigation.”

“He was supported by the FOP,” he added. “He is no longer.”

Van der Veen declined to elaborate further, saying the details will come out as he develops his defense.

A spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 confirmed that the FOP is not funding Nordo’s defense but declined to comment further on the case.

The heavily-redacted report claims that Nordo tried to cultivate sexual relationships with men involved in his cases and used intimidation and manipulation to prevent them from reporting the misconduct.

He “groomed them to submit to his sexually coercive advances by gaining their trust and bestowing favors upon them,” according to the report.

Nordo’s behavior included pressuring suspects and witnesses to meet away from police stations, helping certain people avoid criminal prosecution and threatening his victims to sign interview statements, the report alleges.

The document claims Nordo also asked people in jail to give him names of “homosexual inmates” who were going to be released soon so he could try to pursue them sexually.

In addition, Nordo is accused of falsifying records to divert as much as $20,000 in city reward money to people he favored.

Nordo joined the police department in 1997 and was assigned to the Homicide Unit in 2009. The allegations in the report have raised questions of the validity of the cases he worked during his career.

The report outlined one specific incident of misconduct. Others may have been redacted.

While questioning a robbery suspect in 2005 at East Detective Division headquarters, Nordo asked the man to masturbate, according to the report. He allegedly touched the suspect’s penis and kissed him, the document claims.

The suspect reported the episode to police, according to the report.

A spokesperson for the police department told the Times that the Internal Affairs Division investigated the incident at the time and found the allegations against Nordo “unfounded.”

Nordo now faces 38 criminal charges, and a judge on Feb. 19 decided not to grant him bail. He is currently being held at Northampton County Prison, according to court records.

The case is scheduled to return to court for a status hearing on March 29. ••

Jack Tomczuk can be reached at jtomczuk@newspapermediagroup.com