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Former Hero Cop Arrested on Rape Charges

Richard Decoatsworth

Richard Decoatsworth

By Larry Miller

Richard Decoatsworth was one of the good guys; an officer who survived being shot in the face and still pursuing the shooter while returning fire. But that was in 2007, and now Decoatsworth remains in jail on $60 million bail.He has been charged with rape, sexual assault, possession of an instrument of crime, terroristic threats, promoting prostitution, trafficking of persons, intimidation and a host of related offenses.

Decoatsworth was arrested on Saturday, May 18. Law enforcement authorities said that on May 16 at around 2 a.m., two women were at a party where they encountered him. Investigators said that after the party the three left together and went to another location, where Decoatsworth allegedly pulled out a handgun and forced the women to perform sexual acts.

Once he left, the women contacted police and reported the incident Decoatsworth was quickly arrested and charged with rape and the related offenses. The investigation continues as of Tribune press time.

This latest incident is just one in a slow decline for an officer who was once considered a hero after being shot in 2007. Last year on Jan. 25, Decoatsworth allegedly threatened a neighbor and his wife in the vicinity of Salmon Street and Lehigh Avenue in the city’s Port Richmond section. Although he was not arrested, he was charged with simple assault and harassment. The case went into arbitration and Trial Commissioner Catherine Dumoff issued mutual stay-away orders for a year, according to the Philadelphia district attorney’s office. He was also facing investigation of a disputed shooting in 2009.

Law enforcement officials reported that on the day in question, Decoatsworth was on patrol on his motorcycle in the 4900 block of Warnock Street just after 1 p.m. when he was charged by Anthony Temple. There was a brief struggle, during which Decoatsworth’s weapon discharged. Temple fled the scene and was pursued by another officer, and there was another brief struggle. The second officer discharged his weapon and Temple was fatally wounded. According to the victim’s family, he suffered from mental health problems, and the city paid $90,000 in an out-of-court settlement.

Decoatsworth resigned from the force in December 2011.

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