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Ex-hero Philadelphia officer leaves jail after 16 months as rape, trafficking charges dropped

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PHILADELPHIA — A former Philadelphia police officer honored by the White House before being accused of raping two prostitutes at gunpoint has left jail after the case unraveled.

Richard DeCoatsworth was freed Monday after more than a year in jail on human trafficking, rape, drug and other charges. His bail at one point had reached $60 million, his lawyer said.

"It was just a nightmare, the things he was accused of," defense lawyer George Parry said Monday.

Philadelphia prosecutors dropped the charges after Parry questioned the accusers' credibility in pretrial filings.

PHOTO: FILE - In a Feb. 24, 2009 file photo, first Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, stand in the gallery with Philadelphia Police Officer Richard DeCoatsworth during President Barack Obama's address to a joint session of Congress in Washington. DeCoatsworth was freed Monday,, Sept. 29, 2014, after more than a year in jail on human trafficking, rape, drug and other charges. Philadelphia prosecutors dropped the charges after defense attorney George Parry questioned the accusers' credibility in pretrial filings. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
FILE - In a Feb. 24, 2009 file photo, first Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, stand in the gallery with Philadelphia Police Officer Richard DeCoatsworth during President Barack Obama's address to a joint session of Congress in Washington. DeCoatsworth was freed Monday,, Sept. 29, 2014, after more than a year in jail on human trafficking, rape, drug and other charges. Philadelphia prosecutors dropped the charges after defense attorney George Parry questioned the accusers' credibility in pretrial filings. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

"It became clear to me, once I got discovery, that they had no credibility whatsoever," Parry said.

Prosecutors said they dropped the sex assault and human trafficking charges "after an intense follow-up investigation."

DeCoatsworth, 28, had pleaded guilty to some of the charges in February in a deal that would have likely given him a time-served sentence. However, he later withdrew that plea.

He still faces a felony assault charge involving an ex-girlfriend. Parry said his client will also fight that case.

DeCoatsworth had been honored after being shot in the face pursuing a suspect during his rookie year, and sat next to first lady Michelle Obama at the State of the Union address two years later.

However, complaints mounted about his use of force after he returned to work, when he once shot a motorcyclist during a scuffle. A previous lawyer said DeCoatsworth was battling a painkiller addiction stemming from his injury. He left the force in 2011.

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