Though former Police Officer Kenneth Moreno was acquitted of rape, he was sentenced to a year in prison for a separate charge of misconduct Monday, leading one juror to talk to NY1 about the judge's decision. NY1’s Dean Meminger filed the following report.
He was acquitted of rape and burglary, but former Police Officer Kenneth Moreno was still ordered to do time Monday as he was sentenced to a year in jail on his misdemeanor conviction for official misconduct.
The clothing store executive who accused Moreno and his former partner Franklin Mata of rape was in the courtroom as the judge passed the sentence. She wiped away tears as the judge told Moreno he had acted like a criminal.
The judge said the former officer told an incredible story of how he counseled the naked intoxicated woman in her bed but never had sex with her.
Joseph Tacopina, Moreno’s defense attorney, said the judge went too far.
"Of course I don't agree with it, and neither did the jury, by the way. I mean, if the jury thought what the judge did about Ken's testimony, we would be sentencing him to 50 years today for rape and burglary charges,” said Tacopina. “Of course I don't agree with the judge's sentiment, but I'm sure the judge doesn't care much that I don't agree with his sentiment."
A jury found in May that the former officers violated NYPD patrol book guidelines. They returned to the woman's East Village apartment several times after initially helping her home. They didn't tell their bosses about the other visits. Moreno even made a fake 911 call so he could be sent back to the woman's building.
The two were fired.
Activists attended the sentencing and said they still believe the men sexually abused the woman.
"We didn't think that verdict held in the court of common sense,” said Jean Bucaria of the National Organization for Women. “But given the charges the judge was making the decision on today, we were hoping for the max, and that is what he did. That was a step in terms of restoring faith for the public in the NYPD and the justice system."
Chris Hazeltine was one of the jurors and attended the sentencing as well. In an exclusive interview with NY1 he said that he is defending the jury's not guilty verdict on the rape charges and that most of the jurors didn’t think the evidence proved the woman was raped after sitting in the courtroom for seven weeks.
"For the judge to bring back all of the things that we found them not guilty on is kind of offensive. We have a court of law,” said Hazeltine. “Yes, you hold people to a certain standards, but the law is the law. So, I feel the judge is unfair."
Moreno remains out on bail as his lawyers appeal the misdemeanor conviction.
Mata will be sentenced on Wednesday.