The president of the Philadelphia lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police assailed the Philadelphia Daily News, saying there were credible allegations that two of the newspaper’s reporters paid for utility bills, food, diapers, and other gifts to a woman whose story was told in their Pulitzer Prize-winning series on police misconduct, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey raised similar criticisms of the reporters, saying that if the allegations were true, the reporters crossed an ethical line.
John McNesby, president of FOP Lodge 5, said he had “sound evidence” that the Daily News reporters had paid for food and bills and given gifts to a woman who told them she had been sexually assaulted by a police officer. He would not identify his source. H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, owner of the company that publishes The Inquirer and the Daily News, rejected the criticism. “We stand behind the work of our reporters and have seen no ‘sound evidence’ that their work was anything but thorough, accurate and ethical,” he said. “Our company does not take allegations of unethical behavior lightly, and I can assure Mr. McNesby that if such ‘sound evidence’ exists, we will pursue it.” The 2009 stories by Daily News reporters Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman reported that members of the Philadelphia police narcotics division had lied on search warrants and stolen from bodega owners during raids. The articles said one officer, Thomas Tolstoy, had sexually assaulted three women during drug raids.