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Two NYPD Officers Acquitted Of Raping Drunk Woman

Two New York Police Department officers were acquitted by a jury for the alleged rape of a drunk woman inside her Lower East Side apartment. One cop was accused of raping her while his partner napped. The jury found officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata guilty of official misconduct for going into the woman’s apartment four times over the course of the night—but not guilty of rape, burglary and falsifying business records.

I don’t even know what to say.In 2008, the alleged victim, a 27-year-old fabric designer for The Gap, was celebrating a promotion at a club in Brooklyn with coworkers and friends when she got so drunk that she wanted to go home around midnight. According to The New York Times, people at the club that night testified the woman had to hold onto a wall to stand upright, needed help finding her coat, hailing a cab, and directing the cab driver to her correct address on the Lower East Side. Obviously this woman was beyond bombed.

After vomiting both inside a cab and outside a cab window, the woman asked the cabbie to help her into her apartment. The cab driver refused, though, according to the Taxi and Limousine Commission official cabbie rules. Instead, he called 911 and is recorded on the call saying, “I have somebody in my cab that is so drunk that I need assistance.” When the dispatcher asked the cab driver if the woman had passed out, he replied, “Yeah, something like that.” She allegedly sat in her own vomit for six minutes until the cops arrived.

Two officers responded around 1 a.m to help the woman upstairs: Kenneth Moreno, 43, and Franklin Mata, 29. What is most bizarre is how Moreno and Mata returned to the woman’s apartment a total of three more times throughout the night. Moreno claims he was counseling the woman about alcoholism after she claimed her friends told her she drank too much; he also sang her the Jon Bon Jovi song, “Livin’ On A Prayer.” None of the three additional visits — three! — to the woman’s apartment were reported to their superiors, yet were caught on surveillance footage.

The woman claims she does not remember anything about the night other than officer’s radios, her tights being pulled off and being penetrated from behind. Moreno, however, claims he only (only!) cuddled with her in bed as she wore just a bra and kissed her on the forehead. The next morning, however, she reportedly told friends she may have been raped. A key concern of the jury was whether the woman had been conscious enough to consent to sex.

The jury also took issue with an alleged confession from Moreno. The woman confronted Moreno outside his job while wearing a hidden wire and got a different story. Originally, Moreno told the woman that they did not have sex. But then when the woman threatened to make a scene inside his precinct, he was recorded telling her that they did “have sex” but he used a condom. The jury apparently thought he admitted to doing so just to stop her from embarrassing him.

None of us know what really went on that night (lack of DNA evidence — possibly from throwing away a condom, possibly because he did not rape her — means no one knows if any sexual intercourse occurred). But it’s clear to me, at least, that whatever Officer Moreno did, it was sexually predatory. To me, personally, a sober person having sexual relations with someone who is fading in and out of consciousness is sexual assault. Period. End of story. The justice system may not agree with me, but f**k it. The true notion of what consent means, I fear, will be lost in the seedier details of whether a vomiting drunk woman may have “flirted” with him and thus, had it coming. And it’s completely unacceptable that the woman’s lawsuit against the city for $57 million had her painted by the media as a “gold digger.”

What do you think of the jury’s verdict?

[New York Times]
[New York Post]
[New York Daily News]
[New York Times]
[New York Times]
[New York Daily News]
[New York Post]
[The Awl]

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