MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) – It is a stunning fall from grace. On Wednesday, a Bucks County judge declared a former police officer a violent sexual predator for acts he was convicted of after he left the force.
As an officer, Thomas Kuechler’s responsibilities included tracking sex offenders and even possibly warning neighbors when a sexual predator moved next door.
Now it is Kuechler who has been declared a sexual predator.
The stunning reversal caught residents Eyewitness News spoke with off guard.
“It’s absolutely absurd,” Feasterville resident Teena Russell said.
“Now it comes down to who can I trust?” Langhorne resident Chris Gartner said.
Kuechlar was a Middletown Township police officer who retired from the force in 1994.
According to prosecutors, the 66-year-old was convicted in January of luring two young girls, one as young as six, to Bucks County motels where he sexually assaulted them.
The assaults allegedly spanned eight years.
“When you’re retired, it is still in your heart. It’s still in what you should be and how you should act. He is just an embarrassment to the profession for all of them that really take it seriously and do their jobs and protect us,” Russell said.
Prosecutors say from 2000 to 2008, when the crimes occurred, Kuechler was a consultant training police officers on accident investigations and that he knows his victims through family members.
Kuechler remains behind bars as he awaits sentencing this summer.
Efforts to reach lawyer were unsuccessful, but Kuechler reportedly denied the accusations during the trial.
Reported By: Todd Quinones, CBS 3