A former New York City police officer convicted of dragging a young teacher into an alley at gunpoint before repeatedly sexually assaulting her learned his fate this morning — Michael Pena can now look forward to the next 75 years to life in prison.
When Pena was convicted in March, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance pledged that he would see to it that Pena received no mercy at sentencing. Vance wasn’t kidding; Pena got the max — 25 years to life for each of the three counts of predatory sexual assault on which he was convicted — and the sentence guarantees that Pena won’t even see a parole board until he’s served at least 75 years as a guest of the state.
Despite the three convictions on the three counts of predatory sexual
assault, the jury was deadlocked on two rape charges, which caused many
members of the media to freak out, claiming Pena “beat the rap.” As we
argued at the time, Pena hardly beat any rap. More on that here.
Pena’s crimes are pretty depraved — on
the morning of August 19, a drunken Pena attacked the 25-year-old victim
in the courtyard at an apartment building at 83 Park Terrace. Using his
NYPD-issued pistol, Pena threatened the victim into going into the
courtyard, where he sexually assaulted her repeatedly in broad daylight.
Pena was caught at the scene — still zipping up his pants.
Forensic investigators found traces of the victim’s DNA on Pena’s penis, and Pena’s DNA on the victim’s underwear.
In arguing for a light sentence, Pena told Judge Richard Carruthers the following (via-the New York Post):
“I’d like to go back in time to the day of this incident and somehow
grab myself by the shoulder,” Pena said, in a pathetic tone of voice. He
apologized to his victim, her family and his own family.
“I’ll always carry the shame and burden for my actions, for what I have done,” he told the judge. “For the rest of my life.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 7, 2012