A former NYPD police officer already convicted of sex charges pleaded guilty Thursday to an additional rape charge, sparing the young teacher he was accused of assaulting at gunpoint from reliving the painful episode during a retrial.
Michael Pena, an officer for three years, was convicted of high-level sex charges and sentenced to 75 years in prison last month. But a jury was deadlocked on rape charges.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said Pena's plea on Thursday "spares the victim" from testifying about the alleged crime committed against her.
"It is my hope this resolution brings a brave young teacher a measure of justice and closure," he said in a statement.
Pena was off-duty when he accosted the teacher on an Upper Manhattan street early one morning last August. She was on her way to her first day of work at a new job.
"I have no explanation for what happened that day. I know I should be punished," he said during the trial, telling the victim he was "terribly sorry" for his actions. "I will just have that guilt for the rest of my life."
The victim testified that Pena forced her into an apartment building courtyard and raped her at gunpoint
"My life has been shattered - my sense of security, my sense of safety, any and all independence," she said, weeping after she sat down.
Pena didn't testify at the trial. At the time, his lawyer, Ephraim Savitt, said the officer attacked the woman but never had intercourse with her, a requirement for a rape conviction.
With the Associated Press