Police officers can take off their clothes during undercover prostitution stings, but engaging in a sex act could prohibit prosecution, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. told police chiefs in letters released Wednesday.
Zappala outlined the legal guidelines involving prostitution investigations because of Green Tree police Chief Andrew Lisiecki's controversial arrest of a prostitute in September in a Green Tree hotel. The criminal complaint against Akudo Duru, 32, of Ft. Lauderdale said Lisiecki took off his clothes and Duru "started" to fondle him before he arrested her Sept. 9. Lisiecki told the Tribune- Review that she did not touch him.
Zappala wrote that "courts have determined that it is not necessarily inappropriate for a police officer to take off his clothes in connection with a prostitution investigation. However, if an officer engages in a sexual act with a prostitute, this may constitute 'outrageous government conduct' and, as such, be a violation of a defendant's civil rights."
He went on to say that "no bright-line test" exists to determine when police cross the line. Several factors are considered, including the seriousness of the crimes being investigated; the degree and frequency of any nudity or sexual contact involved; and the necessity of any nudity or sexual contact to gather sufficient evidence, Zappala wrote.
The letters went to Pittsburgh police Chief Nate Harper, who asked for the legal opinion, …