DENVER -- A 14-year veteran of the Denver Police Department will serve a 30-day suspension after Internal Affairs found "credible evidence" he had sex with a known prostitute. Officer Zachery Phillips was demoted from the rank of Corporal after it was revealed he had a relationship with a woman identified only as "SJ" in a discipline letter obtained by the Problem Solvers.
The allegation came to light after the Vice Unit for Denver Police arrested a woman only identified as "SJ" for prostitution and drug possession at the Marriott Hotel on 685 Speer Boulevard on February 8, 2017.
Two days later, Denver detectives contacted the woman when she bonded out of the Denver Detention Center, to discuss her knowledge of drug dealers, prostitution, pimping and online escort websites. At the time she told detectives that Corporal Phillips had "allegedly paid for sex acts with her in the past."
When Internal Affairs confronted Corporal Phillips he admitted that "SJ" came to his house for a massage in November or December 2016.
He said he paid her "around $40" and admitted she slept with him in his bed but denied the two had sex and denied knowing she was a prostitute though investigators found "the credible evidence indicates otherwise."
Detectives noted "SJ" had served time in prison for burglary and was on parole.
Corporal Phillips admitted that he and "SJ" continued their relationship and dated for a brief period.
The discipline letter makes it clear that the presumptive penalty is dismissal from the department but termination will be "held in abeyance for a period of twelve (12) months" if Officer Phillips has no more violations. Instead he will serve a 30-day suspension.
The Department of Public Safety released the following statement explaining it's decision not to automatically fire Officer Phillips:
"The female witness in this case made allegations against Corporal Phillips that she later recanted. This impacted the department's ability to prove solicitation for prostitution took place. Additionally, there were mitigating factors present, including the fact that Corporal Phillips did not participate in deceptive conduct; he acknowledged his actions were inappropriate; and he had no prior discipline. However, the discipline order stipulates that if Corporal Phillips receives any discipline in the next 12 months his employment with the department will be terminated."
Officer Phillips joined the Denver Police Department in 2003 and is currently assigned to District 2 where he earns an annual salary of more than $94,000 a year.
. when the woman bonded out, she told Denver detectives she