Richard DeCoatsworth, First Lady Obama Credit: USA Today
Philadelphia-- A former Philadelphia police officer once hailed
as a hero and given a seat next to the first lady at a speech by
President Obama has been arrested and charged with rape and other
Authorities allege that former officer Richard
DeCoatsworth left a party with two females early Thursday and took them
to another location, where they allege that he produced a handgun and
"forced the two females to engage in the use of narcotics and sexual
A police spokeswoman said the two called police after he
left, and 27-year-old DeCoatsworth was charged with rape, sexual
assault, terroristic threats and related offenses.
was hailed as a hero after he was shot in the face during a traffic stop
in September 2007 but still managed to chase after his attacker, who
was later sentenced to 36 to 72 years in prison.
invited by Vice President Joe Biden to attend the president's televised
February 2009 address to Congress and sat with first lady Michelle
Obama. He said he didn't know why he had been singled out, but being in
the presence of the nation's leaders was an honor "that I will keep with
me for the rest of my life."
WCAU-TV, which first reported his arrest, said DeCoatsworth retired from the department on disability in December 2011.
said no other information on the alleged attack would be released
Saturday to protect the victims and the integrity of the ongoing
investigation. Authorities declined to say give even general locations
for the party and alleged crime scene and also wouldn't say when
DeCoatsworth was arrested.
A listed number for DeCoatsworth has been disconnected and it was unclear whether he had an attorney.
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey told a Philadelphia Daily News
columnist in February of last year that he believed he had made a
mistake in granting the former officer's request to go back to work too
soon after he was shot.
"God bless him for still wanting to get
out there and do police work, but did I act in his best interest? In
hindsight, I would say probably not," Ramsey told columnist Sty