Sunday, February 6, 2011

Suburban St. Louis police officer sentenced to 25 years for forcing women into sex acts

A former Uplands Park, MO police officer was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for raping and robbing prostitutes. One attack occurred at his own police station. 32 year old Leon Pullen of Foley, MO was sentenced in a St. Louis federal court Friday, January 28 to the 300 month sentence after pleading guilty to nine federal felonies.

These felonies included conspiracy, deprivation of civil rights, witness tampering, and lying to the FBI. Federal prosecutors dropped ten other charges after Pullen pled guilty July 28, 2010. Pullen faced a sentence of 18 1/2 to 25 years of federal confinement.

Pullen's MO was to respond to online escort ads, then after the women responded, he would identify himself as a police officer, pull out his gun, then force the victims to perform sex acts on him. Two of the victims were forced into sex at gunpoint. Pullen was arrested by the FBI on Saturday, September 19, 2009.

The affidavit goes on to say that Pullen called the woman, said his name was "Jimmy," and agreed to pay $400 for a sexual act and that he had her and another woman meet him in Uplands Park on July 15, 2009.

At the meeting, the affidavit said, Pullen rubbed himself against one woman and told her that she had two choices: to give him all her money or get naked, LaCombe wrote. Another officer was present, [FBI special agent Greg]LaCombe wrote, but that officer is not named in the complaint.

Pullen then ordered her and the other woman back in their car and told them to follow him to the police station, where he took the victim to an office in the rear of the station, forced her to undress and then forcibly performed oral sex on her.

The woman, afraid that Pullen would call in the other officer to have sex with her, tried to end the attack by offering to meet Pullen later, LaCombe wrote. Pullen gave her his contact information, and then she left, later calling the FBI.

The victim of that encounter, identified as D.S., gave a victim impact statement and said the sexual assault left her with PTSD and a back injury. "I've always considered myself a very strong woman until that day," she said. The attack had also affected her ability to parent her four children.

Judge Rodney Sippel gave Pullen the 25 year sentence, stating "[People] trust law enforcement to make sure they're safe," Sippel said. "For law enforcement to turn on them and take from them that sense of safety . . . it's hard to comprehend." Pullen was also ordered to pay thousands of dollars in restitution, with the exact amount being disputed.

The second officer in the federal complaint, Justin Biancardi, plead guilty in St. Louis federal court Monday, January 10, 2011 to shaking down over a dozen prostitutes for money. Biancardi, who cooperated with the feds, faces a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced April 13.

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