Jury acquits ex-cops in 2009 indecent-exposure case

Harvey: Encounter consensual.
Harvey: Encounter consensual.
Posted: March 20, 2014

BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: A federal jury at 4:25 p.m. Wednesday acquitted Joseph Harvey and Sean Cahill.


JOSEPH HARVEY, the ex-cop accused of masturbating in front of a woman against her will in an abandoned Kensington rowhouse in 2009, took the stand in his own defense yesterday, testifying that their sexual encounter was consensual.

In his testimony before a federal jury, Harvey said he and another cop, Sean Cahill, had arrived at work an hour early, about 6 p.m. Oct. 8, 2009. The two plainclothes narcotics cops decided to drive around to gather information about drug sales, he said. Harvey spotted a woman, then a 21-year-old drug addict, walking on Somerset Street near Ruth.

Harvey said he had first met her on the street a month earlier and that they had flirted, so on this evening he got out of the car to talk with her. She confided that there would be a drug stash at a rowhouse on D Street near Kensington Avenue, and they walked to the house so she could show it to him, Harvey said.

They went inside.

"I said she had a nice body," testified Harvey, 39, dressed in a dark suit and blue tie. "She had nice breasts. I was beginning to get aroused. I told her they looked good. And she took her pants off. At this point, she began touching herself. And I pulled out my penis and did the same thing. When I was finished . . . "

"When you say you were finished, did you come?" interjected Harvey's attorney, James Funt.

"Yes," Harvey replied.

"Did she?" Funt asked.

"Umm . . . " Harvey replied.

An objection by a prosecutor at this point was sustained by U.S. District Judge Timothy Savage, putting an end to the question.

Harvey then testified that he was "disgusted" with himself. His face getting red, he added in a low voice: "It's not something I'm particularly proud of, having a wife and a daughter at that time, and one on the way."

He said he quickly left, then out of guilt called his wife.

Funt showed jurors cellphone records indicating that at 6:44 p.m. Oct. 8, 2009, a call was placed between Harvey's number and his wife's.

Harvey testified that he, Cahill and other officers then participated in drug arrests on nearby Boudinot Street that night based on information the woman gave him. After that, he said, he told the other officers about the alleged drug stash at the D Street house.

He said that he walked to the house and that Cahill and Officers Curt McKee and Hayden Smith also went there. He said he, Cahill and McKee went upstairs and in a rear bedroom, they saw the woman with a man, both naked. "I thought it was best to separate them" because the woman had given him the information about the alleged drug stash, Harvey said.

After McKee took the man outside, Harvey said, he asked the woman about the drug stash while Cahill searched the room. "She said, 'It's not here. We did them all,' " Harvey testified.

During her cross-examination of Harvey, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Morgan asked why he filled out no paperwork about the three times he allegedly met the woman, whom he contended he was developing as a source. Harvey said he normally didn't file paperwork based on simple conversations.

Morgan later repeated what Harvey earlier testified - that he felt so guilty after the mutual masturbation act that he called his wife. Harvey agreed.

Morgan directed Harvey's attention to the call at 6:44 p.m. Oct. 8, 2009. "Do you see where it says 'incoming call?' " she asked, pointing out that his wife had called him, not vice versa.

Prosecutors contend that Harvey fabricated two of the three encounters he said he had with the woman: In the early evening of Oct. 8, when Harvey said he and the woman masturbated together in the D Street house; and a month earlier, when Harvey said he first met her.

They contend that Harvey forced the woman to watch him masturbate - violating her civil rights - when he, McKee and Smith went to the D Street house. Authorities say Cahill was not there, and that Harvey and the woman were alone during the sexual act. Cahill, 34, is also on trial, charged with lying to the FBI.

Harvey and Cahill have been fired from the police force.

On Twitter: @julieshawphilly

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