Updated 12/09/2008 10:39 AM
Officers In Sodomy Case To Face Charges
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A grand jury Monday agreed with Michael Mineo's claims that he was sodomized by cops at the Prospect Park subway station back in October. As a result, three NYPD officers are now facing charges.
Officer Richard Kern is charged with the most serious count -- aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree. Officers Alex Cruz and Andrew Morales are accused of covering up the crime. They have all maintained their innocence and are expected to plead not guilty.
Mineo's lawyer, Kevin Mosley, said his client is the victim.
"Physically he still has a lot of pain, a lot of discomfort. I would stress a lot of it is mental. We're talking about a sexual assault of a young man by another man," said Mosley.
Back on October 15, police said Kern spotted Mineo allegedly smoking marijuana. They said Kern and other officers followed Mineo when he ran away into the Prospect Park subway station. The indictment charges that in the course of making the arrest, Kern sodomized Mineo with his police baton.
Sources said the DA's office has forensic evidence to back up the indictment.
"There were statements by the police dept that this didn't happen. People didn't believe him. It was an outrageous charge. And he's been validated and vindicated," said Mosley.
While Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said he would wait for the DA's presentation of the grand jury findings, he defended the investigation by NYPD internal affairs.
"They took the information and started an investigation," said Kelly. "They spoke to individuals that were in six or 10 feet of the incident and they reported something much different from what the complainant did."
Officer Kern has a history of excessive force. The city has settled a lawsuit on his behalf before.
Neither Kern nor his attorney commented Monday. However, Officer Cruz's lawyer did release a statement.
"[Alex Cruz] never observed any misconduct nor engaged in any misconduct," said Cruz's attorney Stuart London. "Not only does my client maintain his innocence, but this case is so weak that all charges should be dismissed based on a motion to inspect the grand jury minutes. We plan on filing motions. We will fight these charges."
Police said the three officers have been placed on modified duty since the incident.
If convicted, they could all face jail time. The aggravated sexual abuse charge carries a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 25 years.