A former St. Louis police officer was on January 31 indicted on 36 federal charges after he was accused of sexually assaulting 19 male detainees. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 34-year-old Marcellis Blackwell was with the North County Police Cooperative when he sodomized, abused, and groped the male victims.
Blackwell is said to have committed the sexual assault crimes on male detainees he had either arrested or limited their ability to react. The former police officer had been with the North County Police Cooperative for just a year when he was arrested and charged in connection with the sexual assaults.
Besides doctoring some records to prevent himself from being implicated, authorities also said the suspect in some instances sexually abused multiple victims in a day. The charges brought against Blackwell came after he was accused of arresting and sexually assaulting a man placed in handcuffs. That incident occurred close to the Normandy High School, and he was charged in connection with that assault in June. The former police officer was subsequently handed a 16-felony indictment by a federal grand jury in September.
Authorities said the men Blackwell is accused of sexually assaulting continued to come forward, adding that investigators who looked through his personal and work phones found several videos and photos of him committing those crimes, the St. Louis Post-Disptach reported. Secret photos of people using public restrooms or small elevators were also found on those devices, court documents stated.
Blackwell resigned in the wake of the allegations. His alleged actions were also labeled as “massively disheartening” by department spokesman, Maj. Ron Martin. In December, a judge ordered the 34-year-old suspect to remain in custody as he posed a threat to the safety of the community and could make a run for it before the court settled his cases.