An Allegheny County Common Pleas judge this morning ordered that a Pittsburgh police officer accused of soliciting sexual favors from at least four women be released on home electronic monitoring while his case is pending.
Officer Adam Skweres, 34, of Lincoln Place, was originally being held on $300,000 cash bond for three cases filed against him Thursday. Charges in a fourth case came this afternoon.
Deputy District Attorney Christopher Avetta asked Judge Jeffrey A. Manning to keep a cash bond on Officer Skweres, because, he said he believed the man had made threats against witnesses against him.
"We have received information there have been threats made to some of the witnesses," Mr. Avetta said.
He said he could not be more specific with the information.
Officer Skweres' attorney, Phil DiLucente, said the charges being brought nearly four years after the first accusations diminishes their credibility.
"This is not a person who I believe would have the character of a person to have committed what is charged," Mr. DiLucente said.
Mr. DiLucente argued that Officer Skweres has strong family ties and should be released.
"He has valiantly represented his country by serving in Iraq," Mr. DiLucente said.
Officer Skweres was in the Army Reserves for 12 years and served in Iraq for one. He has been a Pittsburgh police officer for five years, though he is suspended from his $52,000-a-year job without pay.
Pre-trial services assessed Officer Skweres as a low risk and recommended release on his own recognizance.
Judge Manning ordered that the man's home be cleared of all weapons before he is returned there, and he must have no contact with any witnesses in the case.
"It gives me great pause when you tell me witnesses have been threatened," the judge said.
Charges against him include official oppression, indecent assault, coercion and other crimes stemming from four incidents, the earliest of which dates to June 2008.
District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said Officer Skweres was allowed to stay on the force while investigators were building their case against him.
"It's all a question of evidence and being able to present a case," he said. "A report or a complaint is one thing. Evidence that can be used in court is another. ... What's significant is the face that the city police and OMI realized there was a potentially criminal misconduct and they have set out to set that straight."
Of the women, Mr. Zappala said, "These people don't know each other."
The city's investigation began as early as June 2008, when one woman told investigators she was testifying as a victim in one of the officer's cases and he offered to write a positive letter to county Children, Youth and Family Services on her husband's behalf if she performed oral sex on him, according to a criminal complaint.
Two other incidents were reported and police were looking for more women to come forward.
The FBI approached the district attorney's office about the fourth woman's accusation within the last few days, he said.
She had reported the incident directly to federal investigators though it was unclear if the officer would face federal charges.
Police said the fourth incident happened less than a week ago.
According to a criminal complaint, Officer Skweres went in full uniform to the home of a woman whose boyfriend he had arrested and told her she could help her boyfriend get out of jail if she would give him oral sex.
The victim told police she refused and was terrified, collapsing into a chair.
The officer at one point told her "just let me have sex with you," before forcing her to perform a sex act on him, the complaint says.
Sadie Gurman: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1878.