NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A former NYPD officer who was convicted of attacking a woman in upper Manhattan has been sentenced to 75 years to life in prison.
In March, a jury convicted Michael Pena of three counts of predatory sex assault for possessing a weapon and three counts of criminal sex acts involving “touching.” The jury deadlocked on four other counts, including first degree rape.
The victim, a 25-year-old school teacher, said the incident took place off an Inwood street last August. She said Pena initially asked her for directions, but when she refused he opened his jacket, displayed his city-issued police gun and then sexually assaulted her in a courtyard, all in broad daylight, CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported.
The victim was on her way to her first day on the job at the time of the attack.
1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports
At Pena’s sentencing on Monday, the woman told the court, “My life has been shattered — my sense of security, my sense of safety, any and all independence. He used his weapon and basically destructed my life.”
Pena told the victim he was “terribly sorry” for his actions and expressed shame.
“I have no explanation for what happened that day. I know I should be punished,” he said. “I will just have that guilt for the rest of my life.”
WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reports
Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Richard Carruthers called Pena’s conduct “deplorable” saying instead of being one of New York’s finest, he is a sexual predator.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said the sentence “underscores the brutal nature of the defendant’s attack on an innocent young woman.”
Other supporters of the victim called the virtual life sentence a victory.
“It’s the type of sentence we need to see. Victims need to see that justice because all too often they don’t see that,” said Sonia Ossorio of the National Organization for Women.
Defense Attorney Ephraim Savitt was dismayed by the length of the sentence saying, “I represented cop killers that got less time than that. It seems that there are terrorists who are getting less time than my client. There are mass murderers getting less time than my client.”
Pena joined the New York Police Department in 2008. He was fired after his conviction. He was engaged to be married at the time of this incident. He is still engaged to the same woman, who lives in the Dominican Republic, CBS 2’s Schneider reported.
The next step is for District Attorney Vance to determine whether or not to retry those four counts that were dismissed back in March.
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