NYPD Officers Plead Not Guilty to Rape Charges

A New York police officer accused of raping a drunken woman as she ay face down in her bed, semiconscious and covered in vomit, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

His partner, who is accused of acting as his lookout, also pleaded not guilty to charges including envidence tampering and burglary.

Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata, who are suspended from duty, were arraigned Tuesday.
Moreno, who is accused of raping the woman who he was supposed to help get home safely, is eager to confront the evidence against him, his attorney said Monday. Mata's attorney said his client denied the allegations.

New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who rarely speaks on pending cases involving officers because he may have to make internal decisions, called the allegations "disgraceful" and said he did not want the charges to tarnish the department's reputation for helping people.
"This is a shocking aberration in stark contrast to the outstanding work that the men and women of the New York City police department do every day on the streets of our city," Kelly said.

"The public needs to know that the police are there to protect them. And I believe that they do."

The two officers were working the late shift in the 9th Precinct that night as the woman, identified as a 27-year-old professional, was out drinking with friends at a bar in Brooklyn. Her blood alcohol was at least double the legal limit and possibly more, investigators said, when her friends put her in a taxi and told the driver to take her to her apartment in Manhattan.

When the driver got to her address, she was so drunk she couldn't get out of the taxi, so the cabbie called 911 for help, prosecutors said. Mata, 27, and Moreno, 41, responded within minutes.

Surveillance tape shows them helping the woman into her building and leaving a few minutes later.

But the tape also shows the officers entering and leaving the building two more times, when they had been assigned to respond to other incidents in the precinct, prosecutors said. The officers were inside the building 17 minutes the first time they returned and 34 minutes the next time, prosecutors said.

While they were in the apartment, Moreno, who has been a police officer for 17 years, raped the woman as she lay physically helpless on her bed, Morgenthau said. Mata acted as a lookout for Moreno, and "knew his partner was having sex with a semiconscious woman," but did nothing to stop it, Morgenthau said.

The woman reported the sexual assault the next morning and was treated at Beth Israel Hospital and released, investigators said. She reported the charges to the sex crimes unit of the district attorney's office.

Both officers were indicted on first-degree rape charges, two counts of second-degree burglary for re-entering the apartment twice, and nine counts of official misconduct.

Mata, who has been an officer for three years, also was indicted on charges of criminal facilitation and tampering with evidence for refusing to hand over his memo book used to record shift details and for not stopping the rape, prosecutors said.

During the investigation, a packet of heroin was found in Moreno's police locker, and he was also charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, prosecutors said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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