In September, police in Upper Southampton Township received a report about a suspected case of child abuse.
An investigation sprang to life, and it wasn’t long before Detective James Schirmer met with the child, who was under 13, at the Bucks County Children’s Advocacy Center. There, the victim told Schirmer that in the summer of 2017, at the Northeast Philadelphia home of then-47-year-old Richard Frank, the man allegedly slipped his hand inside the child’s clothes and touched the child’s genitals.
The fondling continued even after the child asked Frank to stop, according to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by The Inquirer. During a second encounter, Frank allegedly stroked the child’s leg and abdomen.
Frank — a longtime Philadelphia police lieutenant who left the force in 2018 under a cloud of workplace sexual harassment allegations — was arrested by Southampton Township police Tuesday, and charged with indecent assault, endangering the welfare of a child, and “corruption of minors.”
He was arraigned, and held on $75,000 bail.
Vincent Lorusso, who is listed in court records as Frank’s attorney, did not respond to a request for comment.
The affidavit states that the first assault unfolded inside Frank’s house, on Larkspur Street near Greiner Road. The second encounter allegedly occurred at the child’s house in Upper Southampton.
Around the time of the alleged assaults, Frank was working as a police lieutenant in Germantown’s 14th District, and facing scrutiny for the way he treated female colleagues and subordinates.
As The Inquirer reported this year, two police sergeants in the district told their boss that Frank had made offensive sexual remarks to female officers. That information was forwarded to Inspector Anthony Washington, who was in charge of the Northwest Division, and had his own history of being accused of sexually harassing female officers; Washington now oversees the Special Victims Unit.
Frank was transferred to the 35th District in Olney, and allegedly continued to harass female cops. Two officers filed complaints in May 2018 with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission over comments he made to them.
In November, Frank learned that he was going to be demoted, and quietly retired. Reached by a reporter earlier this year and asked about the workplace harassment complaints, he said, “I want nothing to do with this story.”
Frank is scheduled to face a preliminary hearing in District Court next Thursday.