- Patrick Heron, 54, reached agreement with prosecutors ahead of trial on more than 200 criminal charges
- Among the charges were child abuse and kidnapping
- The crimes took place over a period of almost twenty years between 2005 and 2022
A former Philadelphia police officer 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 a pre-trial agreement with prosecutors on 200 criminal offenses – including child abuse and kidnapping – that occurred over a nearly 20-year period between 2005 and 2022.
Heron retired from the Philadelphia Police Department in 2019 after working there for two stints, one between 1995 and 2008 and another between 2010 and 2019.
He was first arrested in September 2022 for crimes related to unlawful sexual contact with young girls, photography of sexual acts with young girls, and retaliation and intimidation against victims and witnesses.
The arrest came after a months-long investigation by Philadelphia detectives and prosecutors.
Former Philadelphia police officer Patrick Heron, 54, pleaded guilty Friday to a slew of charges, including child abuse and kidnapping
He was first arrested in September 2022 for crimes related to sexual contact with young girls and retaliation against victims and witnesses
Heron was released and rearrested on 233 new charges, including kidnapping and child sexual abuse
Heron was held on $2 million bail. “Few crimes impact public safety and community trust in institutions more than witness intimidation, intimidation and retaliation,” said Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krassner.
He added that the allegations against Heron were “among the most alarming, sensitive and serious” that investigators and prosecutors in his administration had investigated.
Heron was subsequently released, but in June 2023, the Public Prosecution Service announced that he had been “rearrested on 233 new charges,” including kidnapping, sexual assault, child sexual abuse and institutional assault.
Heron faced 19 new criminal cases, a total of 21 cases involving alleged sexual abuse and assault of young girls and women, and threats against witnesses.
Some of the abuses are said to have been committed during Heron’s service.
“The 19 new cases and 233 charges we filed today against former Philadelphia Police Officer Patrick Heron involve shocking criminal conduct against young girls and extremely vulnerable women,” said Assistant District Attorney Lyandra Retacco.
“The implications of what appears to be serial misconduct are almost too horrific to contemplate.”
Heron’s victims were described as ‘young girls and extremely vulnerable women’, with many of the abuses taking place while he was at work
Disgraced ex-cop reached compromise with prosecutors after initially facing 1,300-year prison sentence
Friday’s guilty plea came as Heron faced up to 1,300 years if found guilty on the more than 200 charges he faced.
Investigators have identified 48 victims so far. However, that number could continue to rise as victims come forward.
The disgraced former police officer must register under Megan’s Law, which requires federal law enforcement agencies to make information about registered sex offenders available to the public.
Heron did not address the court Friday.