Two New York Police Department officers have been cleared of rape charges stemming from the night they drove home a woman who was incapacitated with drink, but they were convicted of official misconduct for inappropriately entering her apartment. Officer Kenneth Moreno, 43, had been accused of taking advantage of the admittedly drunken woman by having sex with her in her bed while his partner Franklin Mata, 29, kept watch. But a Manhattan jury found today that Moreno and his accuser did not have intercourse--though they did get in bed with her.
"The officers had both admitted to violating their duties on the night in question, including Officer Moreno’s testimony that he cuddled with the drunken woman in her bed while she wore nothing but a bra," reported The New York Times. "After initially helping the woman into her apartment, the officers were captured by surveillance cameras re-entering the woman’s East Village building three times." The officers were cleared of second-degree burglary charges for taking the woman's keys in order to re-enter the apartment.
With no physical evidence indicating intercourse, the prosecution had an uphill battle from the start, but it seemed to have the support of the public and the department. Police commissioner Ray Kelly uncharacteristically made a statement after the charges were brought that seemed to condemn the officers. "It is outrageous that officers summoned to assist a woman would end up allegedly taking advantage of her,” Kelly said. “The public needs to know that the police will be there to protect them, and they can know that.” During her testimony, the woman broke down on the stand several times, saying, "I couldn’t believe that two police officers who had been called there to help me had instead raped me and left me face down in a pool of vomit in my bed to die."
The woman is suing the officers and the city for $57 million dollars.
Update (6:04 p.m.): Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said today that the two officers would be fired from the force because of the misconduct convictions. They had been suspended with pay.