Retired cop held for trial on charges of sex with teen

ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Walter Sasse (center) enters Family Court yesterday for a preliminary hearing on charges he had a sexual relationship with a minor who he met at a horse stable he supervised.
ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Walter Sasse (center) enters Family Court yesterday for a preliminary hearing on charges he had a sexual relationship with a minor who he met at a horse stable he supervised.
Posted: March 27, 2014

WHEN THEY MET in 2010, she was 14 and he, a silver-haired 72-year-old, was old enough to be her grandfather.

They met at Courtesy Stables in Andorra. She rode horses. Walter Sasse, a retired Philadelphia cop who spent 18 years on horseback in the elite Mounted Patrol, supervised the barn.

At first, everything was ordinary, she said. But friendly hugs and kisses soon turned into romantic kissing and fondling. That escalated into a 2 1/2-year relationship that included frequent oral sex and masturbation until she ended things in December, she said.

Yesterday, after hearing testimony from the girl, Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge James Murray Lynn ordered Sasse, who will be 76 next month, held for trial on charges including involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, unlawful contact with a minor, sexual assault, corruption of minors and aggravated indecent assault.

Defense attorney Anthony Voci Jr. and Assistant District Attorney Jessica Brewer spent much of Sasse's preliminary hearing in Family Court questioning the girl, now 18, about her age when the relationship turned sexual.

The age argument was key: If the abuse occurred before she was 16, Sasse faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison.

Lynn dropped two charges - simple assault and endangering the welfare of a child - and set Sasse's arraignment for April 15. He remains free after posting $50,000 bail.

Sasse, who wore a fedora and black leather jacket to court, said nothing during the hearing.

His petite accuser, in blue jeans, cowboy boots and glasses, testified that the sexual relationship began in June 2011, when she was 15. The encounters happened in the barn, his Roxborough home, his truck - and "many times" while they were parked in his truck outside her house.

When she was 16, he tried to have vaginal intercourse with her, but "I stopped it. I kicked him," she said.

"It's really unfortunate that someone of the defendant's position and repute would take advantage of a young girl who was just going to the farm to ride the horses that were her hobby," Brewer said.

According to an online biography, Sasse is an Army veteran who rode with the Mounted Patrol Unit's show and drill teams.


On Twitter: @DanaDiFilippo

Blog: phillyconfidential.com

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