In his defense, Paige claimed Harris was in the park after hours partially clothed and he merely took the young man aside to counsel him. Regarding the DNA evidence, Paige said Harris may have obtained Paige’s semen from a condom in the park, since Paige told Harris he sometimes had off-duty sex with females there. Paige postulated that Harris could have placed semen from one of Paige’s discarded condoms into a cup that Harris merely spit into, according to court records.
In June 2012, a federal jury awarded Harris $165,000 in damages due to his alleged ordeal. The jury determined Paige violated Harris’ bodily integrity and caused Harris to suffer severe emotional distress. But Paige hasn’t paid any money to Harris, according to court records.
Brian F. Humble, an attorney for Harris, wasn’t optimistic that Paige would satisfy the $165,000 judgment against him. “Considering the history of the case, Mr. Paige’s deliberate evasiveness, and the City’s lack of accountability — my opinion is neutral on the prospects [of the money being paid],” Humble said, in an email.
Humble added: “People who have criminal records for selling drugs can’t get a job because of their background. Yet it seems Paige can get away with anything while on duty and still get a new job in the same field with higher pay.”
Paige was dismissed from the force shortly after the March 2007 incident. But in December 2007, Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Anthony J. DeFino dismissed all criminal charges against Paige, questioning the credibility of Harris. DeFino opined that the two men had a consensual sexual encounter.
In April 2009, Paige returned to the police force, after an independent arbitrator reduced his discipline from dismissal to a 30-day suspension. The city didn’t appeal the arbitrator’s ruling, citing expenses.
Asa Khalif, an LGBT advocate, expressed dismay with Paige’s recent hiring. “This is outrageous,” Khalif told the Philadelphia Gay News. “I don’t see how anyone can justify this hiring. The gentleman has clear boundary issues. And it’s unconscionable that he hasn’t paid the judgment. I would suggest that the Sheriff’s Office should force him to pay it. My best wishes go out to the victim.”
Tim Cwiek is a reporter for the Philadelphia Gay News, where this story first appeared.