Just months after a New York City jury acquitted two cops in the rape of an intoxicated woman, yet another police officer has been collared for sexual assault.
Michael Pena, a 27-year-old cop, was arrested on Friday morning for grabbing a woman, brandishing his gun, and raping her in the backyard of a building near her home. Pena, who was off duty at the time, was also drunk when he allegedly attacked the woman, a 25-year-old teacher who was on her way to work.
According to the victim, Pena asked her for directions to the train before assualting her.
The New York Times reports:
The woman, a 25-year-old teacher, told the police that she was on her way to work in the Bronx when a man who appeared to be intoxicated approached her near her home in Inwood and asked for directions to the No. 1 train, Mr. Browne said.
At one point, the man put his arm around her, opened his jacket, pointed at a pistol that was on his belt, and said, “ ‘You’re coming with me,’ ” Mr. Browne said.
The man, who was not believed to have identified himself as a police officer, led the woman along for two to three blocks “under threat,” Mr. Browne said. He turned into a backyard behind a residential building near Park Terrace West and West 217th Street, then raped her, Mr. Browne said.
Luckily for the victim, a fast-acting woman who lived in the building heard the commotion and didn’t believe the sex act was consensual. She called the police—twice. Another witness, a man, saw the Pena with his pants down, but thought he was interrupting a couple’s early morning tryst and didn’t try to help the victim.
The police arrived just three minutes after the second 911-call and found Pena in the backyard with the woman. When she saw the officers, the victim ran to them and said, “He raped me; be careful, he has a gun.”
Although Pena’s lawyer claims his client is innocent, he says if the attack did occur, Pena can blame it on the alcohol.
“If these allegations are true, I believe it is a complete aberration,” said defense lawyer Juan A. Campos.
“I’m not saying alcohol excuses this if that’s true, but it may explain certain behavior,” the lawyer added.
Pena, who has been a cop for three years, was suspended without pay and was charged with forcible rape. He is being held on $1 million bond.