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Monday, February 21, 2011

'Rape' Cop 'Confession'

'Rape' cop in 'confession'
The New York Post by Brad Hamilton - February 20, 2011

An NYPD patrolman accused of raping a drunken woman in her apartment made a chilling confession, apologizing to the victim for "getting really crazy" the night of the alleged 2008 attack, a former Manhattan prosecutor said. A few days after she was allegedly assaulted, the victim secretly recorded East Village cop Kenneth Moreno in a face-to-face encounter on the street in front of the 9th Precinct station house where Moreno worked, the source said. "He tries to deny they had sex, but eventually he admits to it," said the ex-prosecutor, referring to the meeting orchestrated by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. "He says, 'It wasn't done intentionally. I didn't mean to hurt you. I just got caught up. I'm sorry.' " The tape will play a key role in the case against Moreno, 43, and his partner, Franklin Mata, 28, who go on trial next week for rape, burglary and official misconduct and face up to 25 years in prison. While Mata sat nearby, Moreno allegedly forced himself on the passed-out fashion executive, whom the two officers helped up to her apartment on East 13th Street after she got blitzed partying with pals in December 2008. The victim called the Manhattan DA's sex-crimes office, which launched an investigation in conjunction with the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau. She wore a wire and confronted Moreno about what he did. She told him she recalled waking up on her bathroom floor, then being in her bed as the cop stripped off her clothes and had his way with her. His explanation: "It turned from us trying to help you to getting really crazy." But after Moreno says he's sorry, he offers to date her. "If you stop drinking, I'll be your boyfriend," he says. Sources familiar with the charges say the trial could last several weeks and involve a slew of witnesses -- people who saw the cops and the victim that night and forensic experts expected to testify about the effects of intoxication as a drunk person can't legally consent to sex. The defense is expected to argue that the sex was consensual and will likely attack the credibility of the cops' accuser, a stunning brunette and successful fashion designer who had recently moved from San Francisco. Moreno and Mata met her about 1 a.m. on Dec. 7, 2008, when a cabdriver called 911 and said his passenger was drunk, had vomited in his taxi and needed help getting into her East 13th Street apartment. Driver Kofi Owusu had picked up the woman in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where she and her friends were partying at music venue Southpaw. She had consumed too much vodka, and her friends sent her off in the cab.

Moreno, then a 17-year veteran, and Mata, with three years on the force, arrived and assisted the woman into the building and up the stairs of the five-story walk-up. The three walked in at 1:10 a.m., according to videotape from a ground-floor bar, Heathers, two doors down, and spent seven minutes inside, during which she continued to vomit. They left, promising to return later to check on her condition. They returned at 1:56 a.m. and were let in by another resident, whom they told they were investigating a noise complaint. They stayed for 17 minutes before being forced to leave to handle a traffic accident at 13th Street and First Avenue. After dealing with the crash, one of them allegedly used a pay phone at the scene to make a 911 call, claiming to be "John Edward." The caller said a homeless man was lurking at an East 13th Street building close to the woman's. A police dispatcher sent them to that location. The two entered the woman's building at 2:59 a.m., using her key, which they'd taken from her earlier, and stayed until 3:33 a.m., according to the bar's video. The footage shows them shielding their faces from a camera they spotted during the second trip. They didn't realize a second camera captured the effort to conceal their identities. Once inside the apartment, Moreno removed the woman's clothing, including her boots and tights, as she floated in and out of consciousness, sources said. Prosecutors say Moreno put on a condom and had sex with the woman as she lay face-down on her bed while Mata sat on a couch in the living room. Later that morning, the victim reached out to friends in the building and to Heather Mill stone, who owns the bar that captured video of the officers. "I've been raped," she told her, according to Millstone. "It was the police." The friends convinced her to seek treatment at Beth Israel Hospital and to contact the Manhattan DA's Office. Investigators uncovered incriminating evidence, including a red Bic lighter that the victim found under her bed and didn't recognize. A search of Moreno's police locker turned up three of the same lighters. Investigators suspect the Bic fell from his pocket while he was assaulting the victim. They also found a packet of heroin in the locker, which Moreno claimed he'd taken from a drug suspect and forgot to voucher, and credit cards and personal IDs of several other women. They later determined that Moreno somehow got the cards but never contacted the women. Prosecutors say the cops also stole the woman's BlackBerry and called her mother and brother in a bid to scare her into keeping quiet. In the taped conversation with the woman, Moreno denies stealing the phone. Prosecutors have been going over the evidence with Moreno's lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, and Mata's attorney, Edward Mandery, laying out the bulk of their case. "I'm very confident my client will be acquitted," Tacopina said. Prosecution sources said Mata at one point offered to cooperate and testify against his partner in exchange for a lesser charge -- an offer that was rejected, they said. Mandery denied there was ever any offer to cooperate. Both suspects are free on $175,000 bond. The victim, who has moved back to San Francisco, is trying to rebuild her life, concentrating on a promising career in the fashion trade and getting support from her family. The attack "is always in her mind," said a person who knows her. "But she's strong-willed and very capable, and she's put a lot of time into [her work] while this is pending."

Incriminating words

At the request of investigators, the woman who claims she was raped by cops met with officer Kenneth Moreno outside his Ninth Precinct station house in the East Village a few days after the alleged assault. Here are a few samples of the secretly recorded confrontation, according to a former prosecutor familiar with the case:

Woman: “I woke up and you guys were taking advantage of me.”
Moreno: “Nobody took advantage of you.”
Woman: “You were having sex with me. I was violated.”
Moreno: “No you weren’t — nothing happened.”
Woman: “You’re lying.”
Moreno: “OK. It turned from us trying to help you to getting really crazy.”
Moreno: “What do you remember?”
Woman: “I remember getting up the stairs and waking up on the bathrooom floor. The next thing I know, I’m in my bed, you’re taking off my clothes and having sex with me.”
Moreno: “OK”
Woman: “OK?”
Moreno: “It wasn’t done intentionally. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I just got caught up. I’m sorry.”
Woman: “I need to know if I’m OK. Did you wear a condom — yes or no?”
Moreno: “Yes, I did. You don’t have to worry about any diseases or getting pregnant.”
Woman: “Was it only you?”
Moreno: “It was only me.”
Moreno: “If you stop drinking, I’ll be your boyfriend. I’m not a bad man. I’m a good friend to have.”


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