Jury Hears 911 Calls in Trial of Cop Accused of Rape
By Kiratiana Freelon on March 19, 2012 9:14pm
MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — An Inwood woman was awoken by the sound of a 25-year-old teacher allegedly being raped by an off-duty cop outside of her window, she testified in court on Monday as prosecutors played tapes of 911 calls she made.
The recordings, played in court for jurors at the trial of Officer Michael Pena, reveal the neighbor's disgust and then horror at the sight of the alleged incident on Aug. 19, 2011 in the lot behind her building.
"Hi, there appears to be sex going on that is not consensual in the backyard of the house," the neighbor, Ann Bishop, told a 911 dispatcher.
"It woke me up," she said of the scene unfolding outside her window, adding, "It's rather disgusting."
The victim had been waiting on the corner for a ride to work when Pena allegedly approached her with a gun and led her to the remote spot where prosecutors say he sexually assaulted her until police arrived.
Bishop called back minutes later to tell the dispatcher she'd spotted a gun in the man's hand and that they should "send backup" police officers.
"The perp has a gun .. Oh God! Oh God!" the neighbor said.
Pena's alleged victim, a Bronx school teacher, gave tearful testimony last week when she took the jury through the hellish encounter.
“I was scared for my life,” she told jurors.
Testimony at Pena's trial revealed he was drinking the night of the alleged attack and spent time at Club Cultural 27 De Febrero on West 171st Street, where he flirted with a waitress, Meredith Polanco, and then bombarded her with at least 15 phone calls, begging her to meet him.
"Please I want to see you. Come down from your home," he said in Spanish in a message to Polanco, she testified Monday. She tried calling him back the next day but didn't get through.
Pena's attorney, Ephraim Savitt, has argued that Pena sexually assaulted the woman but denied that he penetrated her.
"What the people [prosecutors] will not be able to prove is that my client committed the crimes with which he is charged," he said in his opening statement last week.
Pena is charged with rape, predatory sexual assault and criminal sex act. He faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted.
The trial is scheduled to resume on Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court.