Following the acquittal of NYPD Officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata of raping a druken woman they helped home, Councilwoman Letitia James sends Prospect Heights Patch the letter below.
Moreno and Mata were convicted of official misconduct, but found not guilty of all the other charges including burglary, for taking her keys, and falsifying business records.
Until now, the officers have been suspended with pay. Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said today that the officers would be fired immediately.
Here's the letter:
I am outraged that this victim is a victim again, and that a woman’s credibility is in question again. How could this happen? Two police officers are called to help a drunken woman get out of a taxi, and then the young woman is awakened by being raped in her apartment by one of the officers?
This victim behaved responsibly in many ways – while out celebrating her impending promotion she took a taxi home, and also accepted help from law enforcement into her apartment. The public trusts the NYPD, and believes they will always protect them. But, on this night a perverse abuse of power and police misconduct ensued. It is unconscionable that these two police officers, who had been called to help a defenseless woman, had instead left her violated and in her own vomit, as she tragically testified.
The victim’s testimony is compelling: according to newspaper reports, the woman heard police radios and Velcro before being penetrated as she lay face down unable to resist. Also, the officers were captured on surveillance cameras re-entering the woman’s East Village building three times, and have no explanation for it. (None of the additional visits to the apartment were reported to superiors.) The officers both admitted to violating their duties on that night, including Officer Moreno’s testimony that he held the drunken woman in her bed while she only wore a bra, which is a clear violation of his duties.
Also, in a recorded conversation with the woman, Officer Moreno told the woman that he had worn a condom. What more proof of rape is required I ask? A sober police officer having sexual relations with someone fading in and out of consciousness is clearly sexual predatory behavior. It’s reported that Officers Franklin Mata and Kenneth Moreno look stunned after hearing the verdict, and for good reason. The officers acknowledged a number of missteps including Moreno making a fake 911 call – obviously as an attempt to cover tracks.
Besides the rape acquittal, the officers were acquitted of falsifying business records and burglary, including three counts of second-degree burglary for taking the victim’s keys and returning to her apartment. Only the misdemeanor charges of official misconduct garnered a conviction. I ask, were these officers given a ‘pass’ because they work for the NYPD? Women and victim’s rights advocates across the City are coming together now to ensure justice prevails, for this victim and for all who have experienced sexual abuse and rape. Also, in light of the misconduct conviction, termination of these NYPD officers is necessary.
Councilwoman Letita James, 35th District