NYPD Rape Trial: Friend Testifies Victim ‘Devastated, Demoralized’
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The boss of a woman who claims she was raped by an NYPD Officer inside her Manhattan apartment while another officer allegedly acted as a lookout took the stand Thursday.
Joanna Kreling, the alleged victim’s boss at the Gap, described her as completely broken down and said she was crying when she called her the next morning to say she’d been raped by a police officer.
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CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman reports Assistant District Attorney Coleen Balbert directed the questioning.
Balbert: “And how was she?”
Kreling: “Still devastated, still demoralized.”
As Kreling remembered what her friend looked like, she closed her eyes, and began to cry softly.
The DA asked, “Do you need a moment?” She shook her head no, and tried to smile. The jury now seemed to be pulling for her. She was asked if she’d ever seen the victim behave that way before.
In an aching voice that was almost a whisper, Kreling said, “No.”
Kreling testified that she immediately went to Beth Israel Hospital to meet her. She also testified that a decision was made to tell doctors not to call police. The only thing she remembers her saying at the hospital was “I can’t believe he left me like that” and saying it repeatedly.
The now 27-year-old woman, worrying that if she called 911 the officers would find out, instead reported the incident to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. Working with investigators, she taped two conversations with Moreno. In their face-to-face meeting, he said he had used a condom, Assistant District Attorney Randolph Clarke Jr. said Monday. In that same recording, though, he also denies that they had sex, even after the remark about the condom.
The defense in the case says that police officer Kenneth Moreno, who is charged with rape, struck up a rapport with the intoxicated young woman after helping her to her apartment after a night of drinking in Dec. 2008.
Personal trainer Kelvin Ali also testified that he partied with the accuser in the hours before the alleged attack. He said the woman drank a Red Bull and Jack Daniels and a few other mixed drinks at a Brooklyn club.
He also said that he and friends were helping her into a cab and that shes having trouble with her balance and coordination. She was “over the limit,” as he put it. He added that her outgoing personality wasn’t there two days later when he called her to return her coat.
The cab driver, Kofi Owasi, told his dispatcher in a recording obtained by CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey that the woman appeared to be in pretty bad shape during the ride to the East Side.
Owasi: “I have somebody in my car that is so drunk that I need assistance.”
Dispatcher: “It’s a male or female?”
Owasi: “Ah, it’s a female.”
Dispatcher: “And was, is she passed out?”
Owasi: “Yeah, something like that.”
Antom Mangum, a teacher from Queens, also told the jury that he was leaving a friend’s apartment in the building where the alleged victim lived when he passed her and two police officers coming up the stairs.
It was a narrow corridor and he said the young lady pushed him as she passed, pushed him against the wall.
He said he looked around, expecting an apology, but did not get one. He told the jury that the lady seemed intoxicated by the way she was walking, her heels sliding on the marble, hair in front of her face, staggering.
Guzman reports the jury was shown surveillance video outside the woman’s building. But the woman seems like she’s walking without really needing the assistance of the two cops who follow — a point seized by Officer Franklin Mata’s lawyer.
“I’ve indicated that that tape is actually a critical piece of evidence for the defense,” attorney Ed Mandery said. “They’re gonna claim how she’s all of a sudden physically helpless hours later. It’s inconsistent.”
Moreno is accused of raping the woman while Mata allegedly served as a lookout.
There is no DNA linking the officers to an attack, but prosecutors said there is other medical evidence to show the rape. Surveillance video outside her East Village apartment shows the officers helping her upstairs, and they repeatedly returned for periods of a half-hour or more, ultimately spending an hour there during their last visit, starting at 4:11 a.m.
The officers have been suspended pending a departmental review that will occur after the trial. Moreno, 43, has been an officer for about 17 years. Mata, who is in his late 20s, has been an officer for about five years.
If convicted of rape, the officers face up to 25 years in prison.
What will ultimately sway this jury, one way or the other, is the testimony of the woman herself. And Guzman has learned that the woman who said she was raped could take the stand — as early as Monday.
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