Accuser recalls alleged assault in rape trial of NYPD officers

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 14, 2011 3:03 PM
Accuser recalls alleged assault in rape trial of NYPD officers

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A woman who accused two New York City police officers of rape testified on Thursday that she was awakened from a drunken stupor by the assault itself.

Officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata are charged with rape, burglary and misconduct in the December 2008 incident. They responded to a 911 call from a cabbie who said his fare was too drunk to exit his taxi, and they escorted the woman to her apartment.

The 29-year-old woman told the jury in state Supreme Court in Manhattan that she vomited and repeatedly passed out during the evening, waking once to the sensation of someone removing her tights. She said she heard "the rustling of clothing and very loud Velcro ripping."

Bulletproof vests worn by city police officers are fastened with Velcro, prosecutors have said.

"I was so intoxicated I couldn't say or do anything," the woman said. "My body was complete dead weight."

After passing out again, the victim said, she later woke up when she was being raped.

"I woke up to being penetrated from behind," she said.

Twice during her testimony the woman became so distraught that her statements were unintelligible, and Judge Gregory Carro ordered a break in proceedings to allow her to regain composure.

Both officers face up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the charges. Moreno is accused of raping the woman and Mata of standing lookout, making him culpable in the crime.

A nearby bar's security cameras captured images of Moreno and Mata helping the woman into her building and then returning at least twice later that night, authorities said.

The two officers were arrested in April 2009 after the victim secretly taped a conversation with Moreno outside his police precinct, in which he said he wore a condom during the incident, authorities said.

Moreno's defense lawyers contend he was merely trying to calm the victim and keep her from causing a disturbance at the police station.

Moreno denies raping the woman, and has said he was simply comforting her because she was upset about drinking too much.

The officers face up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the charges.

(Reporting by Bernd Debusmann Jr.; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Jerry Norton)