Two ex-cops are on trial in 2009 indecent-exposure case

Joseph Harvey: Lawyer says the ex-cop wants the case to play out in court.
Joseph Harvey: Lawyer says the ex-cop wants the case to play out in court.
Posted: March 19, 2014

IN OCTOBER 2009, a plainclothes Philadelphia cop ordered a 21-year-old woman in an abandoned Kensington rowhouse to strip naked, then "took out his penis and started to masturbate" until he ejaculated on her jeans, a federal prosecutor told a jury yesterday.

That officer, Joseph Harvey, violated the woman's Fourth Amendment right to be free, said Sheldon Beer, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division.

A DNA analysis of the semen on the woman's jeans found that it was Harvey's.

Meanwhile, another officer, Sean Cahill, lied to the FBI last April in saying he was in that rowhouse on D Street near Kensington Avenue, Beer told jurors in his opening statement at the trial of the two now-fired cops.

Harvey, 39, is charged with depriving the woman of her civil rights. Cahill, 34, faces a charge of making false statements.

Although prosecutors and the woman herself say she was frightened by Harvey and feared getting arrested if she didn't do what she was told, Harvey's attorney told jurors otherwise. "We are not here in the court of morality," James Funt said. "We're here in the court of law. On Oct. 8, 2009, Officer Joseph Harvey violated the vows to his wife."

What happened between Harvey and the woman in the abandoned house "was a consensual act between two adults," Funt said, adding: "She masturbated, he masturbated and he came."

The woman, now 26 - whom the Daily News is not naming because of the nature of the alleged offense - admitted to jurors during her testimony yesterday that she was high on heroin and cocaine when officers burst into the abandoned house that night.

The thin woman, dressed in a black sweater and black leggings, with straight black hair that contrasted with her light, pale face, testified in a quiet voice. She said she was naked with a male friend in a second-floor bedroom and was injecting drugs when "two or three" plainclothes officers entered looking for drugs. They told her to get dressed, she said.

She said her friend was escorted out of the room, leaving her alone with Harvey.

"He told me to get undressed, and I did. Then he pulled his penis out and masturbated," she said under questioning by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Morgan. He also shined a flashlight between her legs as he touched himself, she said. "I felt dirty, kind of helpless," she said. Her clothes were next to her on the floor. She said Harvey then told her to get dressed and threw $6 at her.

Later that night, she and her friend called 9-1-1 from a pay phone. The next day, her parents called the police, and an officer took a statement and took her jeans to Internal Affairs.

One discrepancy in the case involves the number of cops who went into the bedroom. Officers Hayden Smith and Curt McKee, in separate testimonies, told the jury that it was just the two of them plus Harvey who went to the house, and that only Harvey and McKee entered the bedroom.

The three were part of a narcotics team and drove to the house because of information Harvey allegedly had about drugs there.

Cahill was not at the house, Smith and McKee testified.

Funt and Cahill's attorney, Fortunato "Fred" Perri Jr., told jurors that Cahill was also at the D Street house - that he walked there after the group of officers made arrests in another drug case on nearby Boudinot Street - and that he was upstairs with Harvey and McKee.

They told jurors that this information was based on what the woman previously told police. Under cross-examination yesterday by the defense, police Officer Craig Perry, who took the woman's statement on Oct. 9, 2009, and then-Internal Affairs Lt. Joseph Martin, now retired, who took another statement from her later that day, both said that she had stated that three white men had entered the bedroom.

McKee, Harvey and Cahill are white. Smith is black.

Martin also acknowledged that in her statement the woman said that one of the white officers had a goatee. Funt told jurors that Cahill had a beard at the time.

Cahill allegedly told the FBI last year that Harvey was never alone with the woman.

On Twitter: @julieshawphilly

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