Nearly one year ago, those of us who put our faith and trust in the police had our world rocked: an New York City Police Department officer named Michael Pena was charged with grabbing a 25-year-old woman off the street, threatening to shoot her, and raping her in a yard. A neighbor saw Pena raping the woman and called 911.
But this March, a jury failed to convict Pena of rape. It convicted him of seven charges, including sexual assault, but wouldn’t convict him of rape because he insisted he did not “penetrate” her. The eyewitness neighbor who called 911 said it very clearly was a rape and was shocked the jury didn’t believe the 25-year-old woman.
Yesterday, the ex-cop admitted he had lied. In a retrial yesterday, Pena admitted he raped the young Bronx teacher and plead guilty to two counts of rape and two counts of sexual assault.
I hope the naysayers who made a hung jury over the rape charge feel like shit about themselves today. The victim had misidentified the color of a nearby car during the rape and some jury members had found that sufficient evidence that she may be untrustworthy about what happened to her. Let me repeat that to you again: the woman was pulled off the street, held at gunpoint, and raped, but some people on the jury did not believe her because she misidentified the color of a nearby car.
That travesty took the concept of not being a “perfect victim” — you know, the only person who can be raped is a stone-cold sober nun walking home from feeding orphans — to a whole new low.
But that travesty is replaced by a new one: Michael Pena plead guilty to the rape as part of a plea deal and now faces a minimum of 10 years in prison for the two rape charges. The only consolation to me is that he’s facing 75 years to life for his conviction for other charges in the assault.
I’m glad that justice, full justice, was finally served. But what a heinous ordeal for the victim to be raped with a freaking eyewitness and still not believed.
Contact the author of this post at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter at @JessicaWakeman.
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