WILKES-BARRE — A former Dupont police officer pleaded guilty Monday to having inappropriate conduct with two minor children.
David Turkos, 44, of Dupont, was charged in 2015 with three counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, two counts of indecent assault and a count of simple assault after the alleged victims came forward earlier that year.
The former cop — who has a criminal record dating back to 2008 — entered the plea to two counts of corruption of minors. The remaining charges were withdrawn. Each corruption of minors charge carries up to five years in prison, prosecutors said.
Judge Michael T. Vough accepted the plea and set sentencing for July 18. Turkos will remain free on bail.
The case had been scheduled to go before a jury Monday. After the plea, Turkos deferred comment to his attorney, Jason Mattioli, who declined to speak to reporters. Prosecutors said they would reserve comment until after sentencing.
Now in their teens, the victims testified at a hearing in April 2016 that Turkos sexually abused them on multiple occasions when they were between the ages of four and six, claiming Turkos threatened violence against pets and loved ones in an attempt to deter them from coming forward.
The teenagers, both known to Turkos, said the assaults happened between 2001 and 2008, stopping only when Turkos exited their lives. During questioning at the 2016 hearing, they explained why they waited to come forward.
“I was afraid,” said one of the victims, who was 14 at the time of the hearing. “(Turkos) was being physical and he made threats.”
“I was being threatened,” stated the second victim, then 19, adding he “absolutely” bought into the threats because Turkos owned a gun and “he would frequently point it at us.”
Turkos, the 19-year-old testified, would sometimes handcuff or zip-tie him to a railing during the assaults and later provided gifts in exchange for his silence.
Turkos was hired as a part-time patrolman in Dupont in 2002. It could not be immediately determined Monday when he left the borough police department. A message left at the department was not immediately returned.
While still a police officer in 2008, Turkos was arrested on accusations he beat his wife and stepson. He later pleaded guilty to two counts of simple assault and harassment and was sentenced to six months probation.
Turkos was arrested again a year later on allegations he masturbated in front of two children. He was sentenced in March 2010 to six to 12 months in county prison on corruption of minors charges.