Leon Pullen, 32, a former police officer employed by the north St. Louis County suburb of Uplands Park has pleaded guilty to civil rights violations stemming from several incidents where he sexually assaulted and stole money from prostitutes.
According to court documents, on July 15, 2009 Pullen responded to an advertisement placed on the Internet in which a woman posted her picture and contact information as a prostitute. Pullen contacted her via cell phone and identified himself as "Jimmy," and without identifying himself as a police officer, arranged to meet her at a specific location in Uplands Park. He agreed to pay $400 for sexual acts, and also asked her to bring a friend.
When they arrived, a police vehicle pulled behind their car. Pullen, who was on duty and dressed in full uniform, including a badge and sidearm, approached her, showed her the ad she had posted on the internet, and demanded to know how much money she had with her. Pullen made her follow him to the police station where he sexually assaulted her.
In February or March of 2009, Pullen answered another ad from a different woman and arranged to meet her at a hotel room that she had rented in St. Louis. When he arrived, he was wearing a blue jacket over a gray golf shirt that had a police badge embroidered onto the front with the words "Detective Pullen." Once inside, he identified himself as a police officer and told her that she was under arrest. He displayed his firearm and handcuffs. After he sexually assaulted her, he took $100 in cash and her laptop computer. The victim told the FBI later that she was initially afraid to report the sexual assault when it happened because Pullen identified himself as a police officer.
Pullen sexually assaulted two more women using the same tactics in May and June 2009.
Following his arrest on September 20, 2009, Pullen gave a voluntary statement to the FBI. First, he told the agents that he had never taken money from the victims, and denied to the FBI that he had ever engaged in sexual activity - consensual or otherwise - while on duty.
Pullen pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to violate deprivation of rights under color of law, four felony counts of deprivation of rights under color of law, one felony count of conspiracy to commit interference with commerce by threats or violence one felony count of interference with commerce by threats or violence, one felony count of tampering with a witness and one felony count of making false statements.
These charges carry penalty ranges of five years to life in prison. Sentencing has been set for October 15, 2010, before United States District Judge Rodney W. Sippel.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Howard Marcus and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Eric Gibson.