By KRYSTAL DANIEL and ARIANNA ROMIG
Jurors found Police Officer Michael Peña guilty Tuesday of the most serious charges he faced in the rape of a woman in Manhattan last August.
The jury convicted Peña on three counts of predatory sexual assault, two counts of a criminal sexual act in the first degree, and one count of a predatory sexual act in the first degree. The jury remained at an impasse on two charges of rape in the first degree and two counts of predatory sexual assault.
After receiving the verdict on six counts, Justice Richard Carruthers told the jurors, “You may now focus fully on the outstanding counts and look at all the evidence afresh.” They returned to deliberations at State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
Peña, 27, was accused of raping a 25-year-old Bronx woman at gunpoint in late August after a night of drinking while off-duty. Authorities said the woman, a schoolteacher, was on her way to work around 6 a.m. in the Inwood neighborhood of Manhattan when the assault occurred.
Peña’s lawyers told the jury that a sexual assault did occur, but that there was no evidence that penetration occurred and therefore, he should not be found guilty of predatory rape. Dr. Mark Silberstein of the New York Presbyterian/Allen Hospital examined the alleged rape victim on the morning of the assault. Last week, he testified that he found that penetration likely had occurred.
Earlier, jurors had sent a long handwritten note saying they were deadlocked on two counts air jordan 12 of predatory rape. The jury told Carruthers on Monday that it had reached decisions on three counts of criminal sexual assault in the first degree and five counts of predatory sexual assault, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, but could not decide on the two charges of rape in the first degree. Predatory sexual assault is defined as an assault with a weapon involved.
On Tuesday, deliberations were briefly interrupted when the jury told the judge that a member of the panel had admitted he was an acquaintance of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr.
Peña was suspended from the force after charges were filed. He has been in the department for three years.