Two New York City police officers were found not guilty on Thursday of raping a drunken woman who had been helped into her apartment by the officers while on patrol.
The verdict provides some measure of vindication for the officers, Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata, and brings to an end a criminal case that drew outrage across the city when the officers were indicted in 2009.
Still, the jury convicted both officers of official misconduct for entering the woman’s apartment, but found them not guilty of all other charges, including burglary and falsifying business records. The officers had both admitted to violating their duties on the night in question; Officer Moreno testified that he cuddled with the drunken woman in her bed while she wore nothing but a bra.
The case presented a formidable challenge for prosecutors: there was no DNA evidence suggesting that either officer had committed a sexual act, and the victim was admittedly drunk and had only a foggy recollection of the night in question.
As the verdict was read, Officer Mata looked straight ahead, while Officer Moreno cast his eyes downward, placing his fingertips on his lips.
After the verdict was delivered, Officer Moreno’s mother, Aida Moreno-Ruiz, called a relative from her cellphone. “Hey, Freddy,” she said. “It’s over. It’s over. Not guilty.”
She said in an interview that she knew that her son was “not capable of doing something so ugly.”
“Thank God it’s over and the truth came out,” she said.
Prosecutors had accused Officer Mata, 29, of standing guard while Officer Moreno had sex with the woman.
After initially helping the woman into her apartment, the officers were captured by surveillance cameras re-entering the woman’s East Village building three times.
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