NYPD cop Michael Pena was drunk early Friday morning, dressed in plainclothes but armed, when he allegedly asked a 25-year-old teacher for directions, forced her to a driveway by showing her his gun, and raped her. He has been charged with first-degree rape, criminal sexual act and predatory sexual assault, in an incident that is already being compared to the notorious "rape cops" case that ended in acquittal earlier this year.
One of the people making the comparison: Pena himself, who told the Daily News on Riker's Island, "The DA is arresting cops, indicting cops...They're trying to make an example out of me." His lawyer, too, told The New York Post, "My client is a separate individual."
Pena also said, "Everything's not black and white. There are shades of gray." A woman living nearby didn't see the ambiguity — she witnessed the attack and called 911 twice. "The first time I suspected it was not consensual," she told the Daily News. "The second time because I saw a gun." She saw it fall out of his pants. (The Times says a man also walked by but apologized for interrupting what he thought was a consensual encounter.)
Nor did the NYPD's deputy commissioner see much of a gray area, at least judging by what he told the press: that Pena said, "You're coming with me," and that the woman "knew he had a gun. She saw it on his hip and later in his hand." It's not clear whether he identified himself as a police officer.
Even his lawyer didn't sound that convinced. "If these allegations are true, I believe it is a complete aberration," he said, adding, "I'm not saying alcohol excuses this, if that's true, but it may explain certain behavior." Incidentally, Pena has been engaged for a few months.
When the cops arrived, the woman shouted at them that Pena was armed and that he had raped her. He is being held on $1 million bond.
$1 Million Bond For Rape Cop [NYP]
Cop Accused Of Rape Says He Is Being Targeted Because Jury Acquitted Officers In High-Profile Case [NYDN]
Off-Duty NYPD Cop Arrested Mid-Crime, Charged With Raping School Teacher At Gunpoint [NYDN]
New York City Police Officer Charged With Rape While Off Duty [NYT]