PHILADELPHIA (March 8, 2023) – The District Attorney’s Office Special Investigations Unit on Wednesday announced developments in three criminal cases involving police and public safety officers and urged survivors of police sexual abuse and violence to receive safe services and support.
Former Homicide Detective Donald Suchinsky (DOB: 6/21/1965) of Montgomery County was arrested on February 23, 2023, following an investigation by the Philadelphia Police Department Internal Affairs (IA) Division. Suchinsky is alleged to have sexually harassed, stalked, and assaulted the mother of a homicide victim whose case he had been assigned to investigate in 2020.
The DA’s Office Special Investigations Unit has charged Suchinsky with Aggravated Indecent Assault, Criminal Use of Communication Facility, Indecent Assault Forcible Compulsion, Stalking, Indecent Assault Without Consent, Official Oppression, and Harassment.
District Attorney Larry Krasner said, “As with all open criminal matters, former Detective Donald Suchinsky is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. This also remains an open and active investigation, which limits the information we can share with the public at this time. We are urging members of the public who have truthful information about defendant Donald Suchinsky to contact the DA’s Office Special Investigations Unit to receive assistance and support.”
Lyandra Retacco, supervisor of the Special Investigations Unit, said, “The criminal investigation of Donald Suchinsky involves an individual he met during the course of his duties as a Philadelphia Police homicide detective. We have reason to believe there may be more individuals who have truthful information about former PPD Detective Donald Suchinsky, and we are asking you to contact the Special Investigations Unit at [email protected] or 215-686-9608. Our prosecutors and Victim/Witness Services coordinators are dedicated to ensuring the safety and well-being of survivors and witness, including those who may testify before a judge or jury.”
Suchinsky was released from pre-trial detention on February 24th after posting 10% of $250,000 bail set by the court.
The SIU and DA Krasner also urged members of the public who have information about former PPD Officer Patrick Heron (DOB: 10/12/1969) of Philadelphia to contact prosecutors. The retired officer was arrested and charged by the DA’s Office on April 18, 2022, and again on September 29, 2022, with 22 offenses related to alleged unlawful sexual contact with young girls, unlawful nonconsensual photography of girls, and threatening victims and witnesses. The criminal investigation of Patrick Heron involves students and staff at Austin Meehan Middle School in the Mayfair section of the city in 2022. The school was shuttered as part of a planned closure by the School District of Philadelphia in June 2022.
“Patrick Heron is a former police patrolman who worked in various parts of the city who retired from the PPD in 2019. We are asking the public to come forward with any truthful information they have about defendant Patrick Heron, including information about him when he was still working on the Philadelphia Police force,” ADA Retacco said.
The DA’s Office briefed School District of Philadelphia officials around the time of former Patrolman Heron’s arrest and extended a line of communication to prosecutors investigating this case.
The SIU also announced that Howard Rubin, a former school safety officer who created a media reputation as “the Philly Hip-Hop Cop,” was sentenced to an aggregate 10 to 20 years by the Hon. Monica Gibbs on February 9, 2023. Rubin was convicted of two counts of Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse, Corruption of Minors, and False Incrimination for sexually assaulting two boys, who were 12 and 15 years old at the time.
Rubin (DOB: 8/27/1968) was employed by Edison High School in 2008, where a complaint by a student was made which led to his forced resignation. The complaint did not result in an arrest or prosecution at the time.
In 2010, Rubin was employed by Mastbaum High School and fired following another allegation by a student, which also did not result in an arrest or prosecution at the time.
In 2011, Rubin was employed by Multi-Cultural Academy Charter School, where he was eventually terminated in 2014.
It was not until 2020 when the DA’s Office Special Investigations Unit investigated, arrested, and charged Howard Rubin.
“We have reason to believe that there may be additional victims of Howard Rubin in the community, based on our investigation which has spanned the last three-plus years,” said ADA Retacco, who secured Rubin’s conviction. “This defendant has now been sentenced to one to two decades in prison. We are asking you to come forward to receive the support and assistance survivors of sexual trauma often need in order to heal and thrive.”
The DA’s Office has also briefed School District of Philadelphia officials on this criminal investigation and conviction and asked that additional truthful information about Howard Rubin be relayed to the SIU.
“Abuse of power by authority figures is too often effective at silencing and terrorizing victims and survivors. As my office seeks accountability for defendants Heron and Suchinsky, we also want to make sure that we establish contact with every individual who has truthful information, including everyone who may have been harmed in these matters, including by Howard Rubin who has now been convicted and sentenced to spend decades in prison,” DA Krasner said.
The DA’s Office generally does not share police booking photos, but makes individualized exceptions including when information or tips from the public are needed by law enforcement. Individuals who have information about defendant Donald Suchinsky, defendant Patrick Heron, or convicted sexual predator Howard Rubin, or who are in need of support are urged to contact the SIU at [email protected] or 215-686-9608.
Resources for male survivors of sexual abuse and assault are available at 1in6.org. Resources for all survivors of sexual abuse and assault are available at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
Jane Roh, 215-686-8711, [email protected]
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is the largest prosecutor’s office in Pennsylvania, and one of the largest in the nation. It serves the more than 1.5 million residents of the City and County of Philadelphia, employing 600 lawyers, detectives, and support staff. The District Attorney’s Office is responsible for the prosecution of approximately 40,000 criminal cases annually. Learn more about the DAO by visiting PhillyDA.org.