On Tuesday, former Philadelphia detective Phillip Nordo was accused of sexually assaulting and raping several male witnesses and suspects for over a decade before he was fired in 2017. This is a representational image of a man in handcuffs in a metro in Paris, Nov. 2, 2016. FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images

A former detective of the Philadelphia Police Department pleaded not guilty Tuesday to allegations of sexual assault of male witnesses and suspects for over 10 years.

Phillip Nordo, 52, was accused of grooming victims during ongoing investigations and engaging in conduct that made the men more accessible to his sexually assaultive and coercive behavior. The Philadelphia grand jury said Nordo be charged with several felony counts of rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, indecent assault, stalking and dozens of related charges.

Nordo was fired from the Philadelphia Police Department in 2017 for putting funds in a witness’ commissary account. He joined the police force in 1997 and was promoted to detective in 2002, and to the Homicide Unit in 2009.

He was accused of using his position of authority to intimidate and assault men who were involved in the cases he was working on, bullying them into silence and telling his victims that nobody would believe them if they reported him.

The former detective, according to his file, commented on a suspect’s penis while he was under arrest, forced another man to masturbate in front of him in an interrogation room and later kissed him when they were alone in 2005. He also talked about having sexual relationships with his victims and on several occasions asked about when “homosexual inmates” were being released so he could have sex with them or sexually groom them. During the “grooming sessions” Nordo also showed his gun to the victims as a way of threatening them.

Nordo would often target people who were already handcuffed or shackled and he volunteered to work closely with his victims, which included transporting the inmates and witnesses for other detectives. The jury believes that these encounters helped him identify new victims or conceal his already existing relationships. He was also accused of transferring up to $20,000 from the Mayor’s Office’s Crime Reward Program to the victims he preferred. According to prosecutors, Nordo would pay off his victims using city money, with the detective submitting witnesses’ involvement in investigations to crime reward programs.

In a heavily redacted file, a 38 page document that blacked out names and details of those raped by Nordo, the grand jury found that he “repeatedly contacted young men that he sought to groom” using threats and flattery to make the target victims more susceptible to his sexually assaultive advances. Prosecutors said Nordo threatened to arrest or jail the suspects without probable cause, deceitfully giving them reward money and showing off his dominance—at times by displaying his gun and sometimes by targeting handcuffed prisoners.

The abuse took place in interrogation rooms and visiting rooms for more than a decade, with Nordo going out of his way to find his victims.

The investigation and allegations will jeopardize a number of convictions that Nordo secured, other than also serving as an example of criminal prosecution against a once-successful detective.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police said that their organization will not represent Nordo in his case. Police Commissioner Richard Ross said he was “deeply disturbed” by the allegations that he said were absolutely sickening. “It’s not systemic but I don’t get a lot of solace over that.”

Nordo was denied bail and his next hearing was set for March. His lawyer, Michael T. Van der Veen, said Nordo claims that he is not guilty and they intend to fight the case.