Michael Pena, ex-NYPD cop, admits raping woman months after jury failed to convict him
A perverted ex-cop pleaded guilty Thursday to raping a teacher at gunpoint, three months after a hung jury failed to convict him.
Michael Pena’s admission came as his victim wept in a Manhattan courtroom.
Pena, sporting a prison beard and an orange jump suit, gave a barely audible “yes” when twice asked if he had penetrated the 25-year-old woman after abducting her in upper Manhattan.
Under a plea-bargain agreement, the 28-year-old Pena will receive a 10-year-to-life sentence to go along with his 75-year-to-life stretch on his conviction for other crimes in the Aug. 19, 2011, attack.
The victim, sitting between her parents, wept and rested her head on her father’s shoulder as Pena confessed to the vile attack.
The girl’s mother burst into tears when the disgraced ex-cop admitted his actions for a second time in pleading guilt to two counts of rape and two counts of predatory sexual assault.
The victim, waiting for a ride to her first day on the job as a Bronx charter school teacher, was abducted and raped at gunpoint in an uptown alley by the drunken Pena.
Defense attorney Ephraim Savitt said afterward that the guilty plea was actually part of a legal strategy for his client.
If Pena can get his sentence reduced or overturned on the earlier conviction, he will now face only the 10-year term on the most serious charges against him, Savitt said.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. put a different spin on the deal.
“This plea spares the victim from testifying again about the crimes committed against her, and it is my hope this resolution brings a brave young teacher a measure of justice and closure,” he said.
The former cop, who had been on the force for three years, was convicted at trial of sodomy and other charges, but the jury was divided on whether or not the victim was actually raped.
Three jurors refused to find Pena guilty of the charge in part because the victim couldn’t recall the color of a car parked near the courtyard where she was violated.
Pena was sentenced May 7 to 75 years to life for his sexual assault conviction.
At that time, his victim told the court, “My life has been shattered.”