Cop: Rape Accuser Said "Goodbye Friend"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    A police officer charged with rape told jurors Wednesday that the drunk woman he helped home said "goodbye friend" as he left her apartment.

    Officer Kenneth Moreno testified for a third day in the trial where he is accused of raping the fashion executive after being called to help her out of a cab. His partner, Officer Franklin Mata, is accused of acting as a lookout.

    They both deny the charges.

    Moreno testified that he snuggled with the woman and gave her a kiss on the forehead, but has denied that any sex took place.

    There were tense moments on the stand between him and Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Colleen Balbert, who accused him of "making it up as you go along."

    Moreno and Mata had been called to escort the woman home from a taxi; she had gotten very drunk while celebrating an impending promotion. The officers then returned to her Manhattan apartment three times within four hours, without telling dispatchers where they were; at one point, Moreno even made a bogus 911 call about a sleeping vagrant to provide an excuse for them to return to her block, he acknowledged in earlier testimony.

    The officers say the woman had asked them to come back and check on her, and Moreno says he was only trying to cheer her up and counsel her about drinking.

    She has testified that she passed out and awoke to being raped in her bed, while too drunk to fight the man off. While the 29-year-old fashion company staffer acknowledged her memories of the night are intermittent, she said recollections of voices and police radio chatter convinced her that her attacker was an officer.

    Moreno, 43, and Mata, 29, could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted. They have been suspended until a Police Department review after their trial. Moreno has been an officer for 17 years, Moreno for about five years.