Philadelphia officer admits having sex on duty

Keith Corley was acquitted at trial of sex-assault charges.
Keith Corley was acquitted at trial of sex-assault charges. (Keith Corley)
Posted: March 16, 2012

In a bid to escape criminal conviction, a former Philadelphia police officer on Thursday admitted he had sex with a woman while on duty - but insisted the act was consensual, not rape.

"She wanted it, she asked to have sex," Keith Corley told the city Common Pleas Court jury, describing what happened with the 32-year-old woman he picked up in West Philadelphia at 3:30 a.m. Aug. 11 and offered a ride home.

"Did you think what you were doing was a crime?" asked defense attorney Douglas Stern.

"No, sir," Corley replied in a barely audible monotone.

"Did you think you'd get in trouble with Internal Affairs? . . . That it was a violation of police procedure?"

"At work, yes," Corley replied.

Corley, 28, an officer for four years, is charged with sexual assault and related charges.

The jury of seven women and five men deliberated about 30 minutes after getting legal instructions from Judge Donna Woelpper. The jury returns Friday morning.

Corley was nearing the end of his overnight shift when he said he picked up the woman at 52d and Market Streets.

The woman said she had missed the shuttle bus to the 69th Street transportation center, and Corley testified that he offered her a ride.

According to Corley, the woman said she wanted to thank him and they ultimately agreed on oral sex. He said he drove her to a parking lot behind the old stables at 63d Street and Cobbs Creek Parkway.

After the act, Corley testified, he dropped off the woman at 69th Street and drove off to complete paperwork.

Minutes later, however, the woman called 911, hysterical, saying she had been assaulted by a police officer. DNA evidence established that the two had a sexual act in the patrol car.

In questioning Corley, Assistant District Attorney Peter Lim noted that Corley had not called police radio as required when he picked up the woman. Lim told Corley that was proof he intended to cover up a crime from the start.

Corley acknowledged the omission. He said it was because he knew sex on duty violated police procedures, even if consensual.

The ex-officer insisted the woman never said no and never resisted.

Corley's arrest last August was the third that month involving an officer accused of assault against a woman.

Charges against one of the officers were withdrawn by the District Attorney's Office after the officer's girlfriend did not press charges. The other case, also involving a police officer's assault on his girlfriend, is pending in Municipal Court.

In his closing argument, with Corley's wife and a friend in the audience for support, Stern insisted that the sex was consensual, not a crime.

"I'm not saying it was moral, I'm not saying it was ethical, and it isn't something that you should do on the job," Stern said.

"He's only human," Stern said of Corley.

In her closing, Assistant District Attorney Catharine Thurston argued that the victim would never have accepted a ride from a stranger at 3:30 a.m. in West Philadelphia. Thurston said the victim felt safe because Corley was a uniformed police officer in a marked car.

"Instead, he was a coward who happened to be trolling through the streets in a patrol car," Thurston said as the victim, seated behind her in the gallery, quietly wept.

"Forget about being a decent police officer," Thurston added. "How about being a decent human being?"


Contact Joseph A. Slobodzian at 215-854-2985 or jslobodzian@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @joeslobo.

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