September 30, 2022
A former Philadelphia police officer has been charged in connection with the alleged sexual abuse of minors and intimidation of witnesses who sought to report the crimes, District Attorney Larry Krasner said Friday.
Patrick Heron, 52, was arrested Wednesday following an investigation into claims that he had sexual contact with multiple young girls after his retirement from the police force in 2019. In some cases, Heron allegedly posed as an active cop when communicating with the girls online, where he would ask them for explicit photos and videos, prosecutors said.
Some of the girls Heron allegedly targeted were students at a Philadelphia public school, which Krasner declined to name amid an ongoing investigation.
"This is every parent's nightmare. This is every teacher's nightmare," Krasner said.
Investigators believe that there may be additional children who were victimized by Heron, including some who may have had contact with him while he was still a police officer.
After executing several search warrants, detectives allegedly found "nude and non-consensual photographs of teenage or younger girls" on accounts and devices connected to Heron. Authorities also found messages in which Heron allegedly had sexual conversations with girls. In others, he made menacing and threatening remarks to witnesses, including both children and adults, Krasner said.
Heron was initially arrested in April and charged with stalking, harassment and retaliation against a witness or victim, according to court documents. He was arrested again Wednesday and charged with a slew of additional counts including unlawful contact with a child, indecent assault on a child, forgery, harassment, corruption of minors and other offenses.
"There are few crimes more corrosive to public safety and community trust in institutions than witness intimidation, harassment, and retaliation," Krasner said. "The allegations against former Officer Patrick Heron are among the most alarming, sensitive, and serious that detectives and prosecutors in my administration have investigated."
The District Attorney's Office has urged other potential victims and anyone who may have information about this case to contact the DAO Special Investigations Unit at DAO_SIU@phila.gov or (215) 686–9608. Sexual abuse survivors are encouraged to contact WOAR Philadelphia Center Against Sexual Violence's 24-hour hotline at (215) 985-3333.
Heron remains behind bars on bail set at 10% of $2 million ahead of a scheduled court appearance on Nov. 4.