A former Philadelphia cop has pleaded guilty to a slew of sex crimes involving young women and girls – before being sentenced to 15 to 40 years in prison.
Patrick Heron, 54, reached an agreement with prosecutors ahead of trial for 200 criminal offenses – including child sex assault and kidnapping – that occurred in a nearly 20-year stretch between 2005 to 2022.
Heron retired from the Philadelphia Police Department in 2019 after working there in two stints, one between 1995 and 2008 and another between 2010 and 2019.
He was first arrested in September 2022 for offenses related to unlawful sexual contact with young girls, photography depicting sex acts with young girls, and retaliation and harassment against victims and witnesses.
The arrest came after a months-long investigation by Philadelphia District Attorney Detectives and prosecutors.
Former Philadelphia cop Patrick Heron, 54, pleaded guilty on Friday to a slew of charges including child sex assault and kidnapping
He was first arrested in September 2022 for offenses related to sexual contact with young girls and retaliation against victims and witnesses
Heron was released and re-arrested on 233 new counts including kidnapping and child sexual abuse
Heron was held on $2million bail. ‘There are few crimes more corrosive to public safety and community trust in institutions than witness intimidation, harassment, and retaliation,’ Philadelphia DA Larry Krassner said.
He added that the allegations against Heron were ‘among the most alarming, sensitive, and serious’ that detectives and prosecutors in his administration had investigated.
Heron was subsequently released – but in June 2023, the DA’s Office announced that he had been ‘re-arrested on 233 new counts’ including kidnapping, sexual assault, child sexual abuse and institutional sexual assault.
Heron faced 19 new criminal cases, for a total of 21 cases involving alleged sexual abuse and assault of young girls and women, and threats made against witnesses.
Some of the abuses were allegedly carried out when Heron was on duty.
‘The 19 new cases and 233 charges we have filed against former Philadelphia Police officer Patrick Heron today allege shocking criminal conduct against young girls and extremely vulnerable women,’ Assistant District Attorney Lyandra Retacco said.
‘The implications of what appear to be serial misconduct are nearly too horrifying to contemplate.’
Heron’s victims were described as ‘young girls and extremely vulnerable women,’ with many of the abuses happening while he was on duty
The disgraced ex-cop reached a compromise with prosecutors after originally facing up to 1,300 years in prison
Friday’s guilty plea came as Heron faced up to 1,300 years if found guilty on the more than 200 counts he faced.
Investigators have been able to identify 48 victims so far. However, that number might continue to climb as victims come forward.
The disgraced former cop is required to register under Megan’s Law, which requires federal law enforcement authorities to make information available to the public regarding registered sex offenders.
Heron did not address the court on Friday.