A Glenolden man who, as a pre-teen was considered a neighborhood helper and minor handyman, was arrested Friday morning and charged with 161 counts of multiple offenses which included the rape of one child and alleged sexual assaults of 14 victims ranging in age from eight to 14 years-old.
District Attorney Jack Whelen said John P. Corcoran 20, sexually assaulted minors repeatedly over a two-year period.
Corcoran was arraigned last week before Glenolden District Judge Peter P. Tozer and held without bail because of a parole violation. Corcoran was arraigned on 161 counts of charges including the rape of a child (three counts) involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child (seven counts), indecent assault of a person less than 13 years of age (11 counts), statutory sexual assault, sexual assault (seven counts), indecent exposure (eight counts) open lewdness (13 counts), dissemination of explicit materials to a minor (nine counts) corruption of minors (11 counts), along with multiple counts of child pornography production and dissemination charges.
“The crimes are particularly disturbing as the child victims trusted Corcoran who they believed was their friend,” Whelen said. Corcoran, Whelan maintained, “in this case lured these vulnerable children under the guise of his friendship, and then exploited them with the promise of gifts only to sexually exploit and abuse them for his own sexual gratification. The sexual exploitation of children is the most heinous crime because of the long-term physical and emotional damage it causes to the innocent.”
Corcoran, a former volunteer firefighter with the Goodwill Fire Company, was arrested last August on arson charges for allegedly setting fire to three unoccupied buildings in Folcroft. While out on bail, Corcoran was rearrested on last Dec. 12th on child pornography charges and remanded to Delaware County prison after he failed to post bond.
Whelan said the mother of one alleged victim found explicit magazines in her child’s possession which she described as “hardcore” pornography, which was given to the child by Corcoran. “During a follow up interview with the victim (last) Dec. 16th he told authorities about sexual incidents between himself and Corcoran who orchestrated the acts. The sexual abuse and molestation started when the victim was 10 years-old and that Corcoran coerced the victim along with other boys into sex acts, including oral sex, by promising to give the victims,” he said.
Corcoran, as a younger boy and called “Little Johnny Corcoran” by at least one customer-family, was a regular fixture on Glenolden streets, riding a power lawn tractor to and from jobs as a minor handyman. The youth, and later his friends, could almost certainly be counted on to show up at doors throughout the community soliciting work during snowstorms and willing to dig out driveways and sidewalks.
Corcoran, as an older youth, would become a well-known personality to police and firefighters in Glenolden and neighboring Folcroft, often giving them the impression that, one day, he’d like to be a first responder.
With assistance from Glenolden police Sgt. Eric Gensemer and Det. Scott Dickson, of Darby Township, County Det. Sgt. Robin Clark and Det. Mark Bucci, of the Criminal Investigations Division/Special Victims Unit (CID/SVU) interviewed additional victims. Authorities learned that Corcoran would befriend and then groom the victims over a period of time, giving the children gifts and promising rewards for different sex acts.
Authorities said Corcoran also exploited children by using manipulation such as reverse psychology and other victims to peer pressure each other into sexual activities. The little girls involved in Corcoran’s sex acts produced child pornography.
“The sexual activity between Corcoran and the victims, often with multiple victims at one time, occurred frequently over the two-year period at Corcoran’s Ridgeway Ave. home, in the bedroom, or in the pool or hot tub, Whelan said, accusing Corcoran of bribing “children into different acts, including taking off their clothing, posing nude, and doing snow angels in the nude while he filmed them, without their knowledge, with his cellphone.”
Whelan said In one instance, Corcoran lured a 17 year-old to go swimming in his house. After assuring her he deleted a picture from his phone, he then convinced her to pose for him naked while he took photos. He subsequently used the nude and explicit photos to lure minors by appealing to their prurient interests and lessening their in inhibitions,” he said.
“Another time, he befriended another girl with an intellectual disability who he coaxed into his bedroom. There he convinced her to strip naked while he took photos of her, which he used to lure child male victims, Whelan said.
The sexual abuse by Corcoran occurred at his home and other locations at the Ridley YMCA locker room where he had victims strip naked and slide around on the floor and masturbate in the showers.
Another location of alleged abuse was the Swedish Cabin historical site in Upper Darby Township where Corcoran and the boys would light bonfires, strip naked and expose their penises while running around the fire.