Last of 3 assault cases against ex-Philadelphia police inspector dropped

Prosecutors have dropped the last of three sexual assault cases against a former Philadelphia police inspector due to the lack of testimony from a key witness.

The judge was told during a brief hearing Tuesday that efforts to locate the witness and persuade her to testify against 57-year-old former inspector Carl Holmes Jr had reportedly been unsuccessful. Assistant District Attorney Clarke Beljean said that he couldn't put on a case without her testimony.

Holmes was charged in 2019 with sexual assault of three female officers after a grand jury probe concluded that he abused his power after mentoring female officers at the police academy and in other roles. The charges came two years after the city settled a female detective’s sexual harassment lawsuit involving him for $1.25 million.

Charges involving two of the women were withdrawn in early 2021.

Defense attorney Gregory Pagano has argued that Holmes is innocent and has been the victim of what he likens to a "witch hunt." He urged the judge to force prosecutors to put on their trial without the testimony, saying his client was "entitled to finality." The judge declined to do so but expressed doubt that the case would move forward.

Holmes, who has denied the allegations, showed little reaction to prosecutors' motion to withdraw the charges, and he and his attorney declined to comment as they left the courtroom, the newspaper reported.