NYPD officer cross-examined in rape trial

May 10, 2011 2:11:23 PM PDT
A NYPD officer says he was just trying to appease his accuser when he admitted to having sex with her.

Officer Kenneth Moreno testified he was running late for work and was "telling her what she wanted to hear" by saying he used a condom.

During that same secretly recorded conversation he also repeatedly denied they had sex.

On the stand, Moreno explained he's a recovering alcoholic and felt he needed to council the woman, so he made a bogus 9-1-1 call to give him time to do so.

The prosecutor asked, "Are you aware that making a fake 9-1-1 call is a crime?"

Moreno replied, "I was a New York City police officer, but I was also human that day. I'm not a machine."

The prosecutor followed up with, "It wasn't to help her. It was to help yourself and your partner. It was so you could go back over and over again to take advantage of that drunk girl."

Officer Moreno is accused of raping the 27-year-old East Village woman in December 2008. His partner, Officer Franklin Mata, is the accused lookout.

The officers are seen going into the woman's building four separate times that night.

Both say that never happened.

Defense attorney Joseph Tacopina asked him, "Did you rape her?"

Moreno adamantly replied, "No. I did not."

The officers were called to escort the intoxicated woman home from a taxi in December of 2008.

Their accuser testified that she passed out and woke up to being raped in her bed.

Moreno says he lay next to her for a time to comfort her, but that they didn't have sex.

He testified on Monday that during one of the visits the fashion executive called him into the bedroom wearing just a bright pink bra.

"She told me to come over to the bed. I told her, 'No. I'm good where I'm at.' I was a little uncomfortable. I was a little taken back. She asked me if I liked her. I said yes I do. She tried to kiss me. I could smell the alcohol and the vomit on her breath. I pulled away. She said you don't like me. I kissed her on the forehead," he said.

No DNA evidence was recovered during the investigation. An examination of the woman found an internal bruise that prosecutors' forensic expert said could be the result of a rape; a gynecologist who testified for the officers said otherwise.

After contacting prosecutors, the woman wore a wire to confront Moreno a few days later outside the police station where he worked.

Reflecting on his encounter with the woman, Moreno said Tuesday that "it was a mistake."

"I tried to help her. Now she's coming to me saying I didn't help her," he said, his voice faltering. "Look where I'm at now, two and a half years later. It doesn't make sense to me."

Moreno, 43, and Mata, 29, could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted. They have been suspended until a Police Department review after their trial. Moreno has been an officer for 17 years, Moreno for about five years.