Former Pittsburgh officer cleared of sex charge

Jim Mckinnon, Post-Gazette Staff Writer
March 20, 2001
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
March 20, 2001, Tuesday, Sooner Edition

(PITTSBURGH) - Former police Officer Michael L. Boyd, once hailed as a hero cop who was injured when his station house was attacked with gunfire, was acquitted yesterday of charges that he molested a woman after a traffic stop in Hazelwood in 1999.

Boyd, formerly of Jackson, Miss., was fired from the Pittsburgh Police Bureau amid criminal charges of indecent assault and official oppression.

A Homestead woman, 19, told investigators that Boyd, 33, of Perry Hilltop, pulled her over at about 2:30 a.m. Oct. 23, 1999, in Hazelwood.

A passenger fled on foot and Boyd ordered the young, attractive driver to follow him to the Community Oriented Police ministation, where he ordered her to strip while sitting in her car, the woman testified. She said he patted her down, touching her genitals, buttocks and breasts.

Defense attorney H. David Rothman said in closing arguments yesterday that Boyd was searching the woman for drugs and that his actions were not intended for sexual gratification. He also said Boyd was not aware that using his authority as a police officer in ordering her to undress constituted official oppression.

Deputy District Attorney Janet Necessary argued that Boyd detained the woman for about 90 minutes and later telephoned her twice, prompting her and her parents to notify the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board.

Boyd, who is married with two children, had been a police officer in Montgomery, Ala., for more than four years before he came to Pittsburgh. The city was recruiting veteran officers, and Boyd said he was seeking more pay.

In his first year on the job, he fractured vertebrae in his back, which placed him on sick leave for about 17 months.

When he returned to full duty, he was assigned to the Zone 6 station in Squirrel Hill, where, on Aug. 27, 1999, gunmen riddled the building with bullets.

Four officers were inside the station at about 3:20 a.m. when shots were fired through the plate glass window and wooden framework. Two of the four officers were injured. Officer Stephen Mescan, 28, was shot in the foot, and Boyd fractured two ribs when he fell on a chair leg while seeking cover.

The gunmen, Ricky Boyer, 22, and Pierre Pinson, 21, were convicted in the shooting and both are serving prison sentences of 50 to 150 years.

Since Boyd's arrest on the sex assault charges, he has been fired from the force, pending his appeals and the outcome of the trial. He now works for US Airways.

A jury of seven women and five men deliberated for about four hours before returning the verdict before Common Pleas Judge Kathleen A. Durkin.

Copyright 2001 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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