NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A judge has thrown out some of the charges against two New York City police officers accused of rape while on the job.
Francisco Mata was accused of standing watch while Kenneth Moreno allegedly raped a drunken, semiconscious woman in her East Village apartment on Dec. 7, 2008. The officers pleaded not guilty on March 21.
1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports: Four of the charges remain in tact against the two officers
The incident allegedly took place after the cops were called to help the inebriated woman get home. Prosecutors said the two made four visits to the woman’s apartment within about three hours.
Sonia Ossorio of the National Organization for Women is following the case closely.
“It strikes fear in the hearts of women in every corner of the city,” she told CBS 2′s Tony Aiello.
The officers were stripped of their guns and badges after the allegations were made public. Moreno, 43, has been an officer for about 19 years. Mata, who is in his late 20s, has been an officer for about five years.
Both men were also facing charges of burglary, official misconduct and falsifying business records.
However, before jury selection began Tuesday, the judge dismissed 12 official misconduct charges. The other major charges remain intact.
Ossorio said many women have told her the rape claim has shaken their confidence in the NYPD.
“The only way to have a civil society is if there is no abuse with their power,” Ossorio said.
Moreno’s lawyer Joseph Tacopina along with the entire defense team believe their clients will be exonerated.
“There is going to be a vigorous cross examination in this case. We firmly believe in the innocence of these two police officers,” Tacopina said.
When the trial does take place, a taped conversation between the alleged victim and Moreno could be key evidence.
The alleged victim confronted Moreno wearing a recording device and said she remembered the sexual encounter. After she threatened to walk into the precinct and tell her story, Moreno apologized and admitted that he started out helping her and that things got a little crazy.
Moreno repeatedly told the alleged victim “nothing happened,” but when she pressed and suggested she’d make a scene inside the stationhouse, he eventually said “yes” twice when she asked whether he’d used a condom, according to the recording. He then again told her they hadn’t had sex.
If convicted of rape, the officers face up to 25 years in prison.
What do you think? Did a rape occur here? Is this a case of “he-said, she-said?” Sound off in our comments section.
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