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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Off-Duty Cop Arrested for Raping School Teacher

Off-duty NYPD cop arrested mid-crime, charged with raping school teacher at gunpoint
The New York Daily News by Kerry Wills, John Doyle and Rocco Parascandola - August 19, 2011

A drunken, off-duty cop threatened a teacher at gunpoint Friday, forced her into the backyard of an upper Manhattan building and raped her, cops said. "Be careful. He has a gun," the 25-year-old victim told officers who responded to a 911 call from a neighbor. Police confirmed that the suspect in the attack on the 25-year-old woman was Officer Michael Pena, 27, a 3-year NYPD veteran. Pena was charged with rape and immediately suspended without pay. A source said that he had an "unremarkable record" on the force, reports. The woman was heading to work when Officer Michael Pena stopped her about 6:15 a.m. on the street in Inwood, police said. The cop, reeking of booze and wearing a red shirt and casual clothes, asked for directions to the No. 1 train and demanded she show him the way, police said. When she balked, he put his arm around her, opened his jacket to display his 9-mm. handgun and led her away, sources said. "You're coming with me," he told the woman, said Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, the NYPD's top spokesman. "She knew he had a gun. She saw it on his hip and later in his hand." Several blocks later, the assailant forced the woman down a driveway and behind a building on Park Terrace West, where he raped her, police said. A woman in a nearby building said she heard the attack and called 911 twice in 10 minutes. "The first time I suspected it was not consensual," she told the Daily News. "The second time because I saw a gun." She said the weapon dropped out of the suspect's pants and he bent over to pick it up. When cops showed up, the woman and Pena were clothed and standing up. His 9-mm. handgun was on the ground. "He raped me," she told police as she ran up to them. The officers tackled Pena, 27, who had his NYPD shield and ID card in his pocket. They comforted the woman, who wore a black dress, offering her a chair as she calmly recounted what happened, a witness said. She was treated at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Columbia. A three-year veteran assigned to the 33rd Precinct, Pena was charged with forcible rape and suspended without pay. He said nothing as he was led, head hung low, from the 34th Precinct stationhouse - clad in a Tyvek suit used to capture forensic evidence, such as hair. Even in a neighborhood where crime has spiked this year, Inwood residents were stunned. "It's just unbelievable," said Andre Lopes, 52. "It's like a little piece of paradise here, and then, to wake up to this scene - it's scary." State Sen. Andriano Espaillat, who lives on the block, said the rape is especially troubling because of other recent sex attacks in the area. With Rhema Thompson -

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