Ex-Pittsburgh cop pleads guilty to sex extortion
PITTSBURGH – A fired police officer will go to prison and must register as a sex offender after pleading guilty to trying to extort sexual favors from five women in exchange for his promises to help them or their boyfriends with legal issues.
Adam Skweres, 35, was a nine-year veteran officer before he was fired last year and charged by a Pittsburgh sex crimes detective with attempted involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, coercion, bribery and several other counts for incidents dating to 2008.
Skweres was immediately handcuffed after Monday’s guilty plea and will be taken to prison for an agreed-upon 3 ½- to 8-year prison sentence followed by a decade of probation.
Skweres did not comment or ask the judge for leniency, saying only, “Because I am, your honor,” when Allegheny County Judge David Cashman asked why he was pleading guilty.
The allegations became public in February 2012 when Skweres was suspended without pay after he was charged with offering legal assistance to three women in exchange for sexual favors. Later that month, he was charged with trying to rape a fourth woman under similar circumstances Feb. 11, 2012.
According to a criminal complaint, Skweres arrived at the fourth woman’s house in uniform, put his hand on his holster and refused to leave after the woman asked him to. After making the woman lift her shirt to ensure she wasn’t wearing a recording device, Skweres turned on the kitchen water, apparently to create noise that might hamper a recording, then wrote a sex act on a piece of paper, the complaint said.
When the woman refused to perform the act, prosecutors said, he asked if she wanted help getting her boyfriend out of jail. The woman said he then forced her to perform sex acts after she collapsed into a chair in fear.
After those charges, a fifth woman came forward and accused Skweres of ordering her to strip naked and perform sexual favors to get out of having to testify against her boyfriend, who was facing charges in a bar fight.
Only one of the victims attended the guilty plea, which was hastily arranged after Skweres decided not to stand trial, and she declined to comment outside the courtroom.
The case became notable not just because it involved an officer, but also because of a news conference Skweres and his attorneys, Phil DiLucente and James Ecker, held last March after then-police Chief Nate Harper asked other women to come forward if they had had similar experiences.
The attorneys and Skweres were scolded by Judge Edward Borkowski, who was previously assigned to the case, after DiLucente said the allegations lacked credibility and were “out of character” for Skweres, who had served 12 years in the Army Reserve, including a one-year tour in Iraq.
Borkowski accused the attorneys of trying to taint the jury pool, saying the only thing missing from the news conference “was an Air Force or military flyover.”
On Monday, DiLucente was lower-key.
“He understands that has happened, he has accepted responsibility, he has pleaded guilty,” DiLucente said.
Skweres is concerned about his safety – as a former police officer – and may choose to serve his sentence in solitary confinement if he believes he’s at risk of being attacked by other inmates, DiLucente said.
Although Skweres’ crimes carried a maximum sentence of decades in prison, DiLucente said the plea agreement sentence was within state guidelines for a first-time offender.
“Mr. Skweres did not get any special treatment whatsoever just because he was a police officer,” DiLucente said.
The district attorney’s office did not immediately comment.