By Patrick Wall and Tom Liddy
MANHATTAN CRIMINAL COURT — The off-duty NYPD cop accused of raping a Bronx teacher at gunpoint in Inwood is "soft-spoken" and "peaceful," his defense attorney argued at his arraignment Saturday.
Michael Pena, 27, a three-year veteran assigned to the 33rd Precinct, was charged with one count of first degree rape, two counts of criminal sex act in the first degree and three counts of predatory sexual assault and was held on $500,000 cash bail or $1 million bond.
He faces anywhere from 10 years to life in prison if convicted.
As the suspect's family members, many wearing sunglasses and weeping, packed three rows in the courtroom, prosecutors laid out their case against the suspect.
Pena, who sources said was drunk, allegedly asked the 25-year-old victim for directions to the No. 1 train around 6:30 a.m. Friday as she headed to work.
When she refused, he showed her a gun and forced her behind a building where he sexually assaulted her, according to police and prosecutors.
After witnesses heard the commotion on Park Terrace West, they called cops, who swooped in and arrested Pena.
Investigators later found his shield and police ID as well as a loaded 9mm gun on the ground nearby, according to court papers. They also found the victim's cellphone on a nearby rooftop.
Prosecutors said Pena's pants were partially down when police arrived.
The suspect's attorney, Juan Campos, said that the allegations, if true, would be totally out of character for the officer, who he described as "soft-spoken" and "peaceful" in court.
"If it is true, it is a complete aberration and a contradiction to who my client is," Campos said.
Pena, a graduate of Humanities HS, has been engaged for five years and had no domestic complaints leveled against him, according to the attorney.
"it is my understanding that he has an unblemished record [in the police department]," Campos said.
If any of the allegations were true, at least some of the behavior could be explained by alcohol, he added.
"I’m not saying alcohol excuses the behavior if it is true, but it may explain certain behaviors,” Campos said.
He also argued that his client should be monitored by electronic bracelet, saying that the Yonkers resident was not a flight risk because of his community ties.
“My client should not be punished by remanding him or charging some exorbitant bail that his family cannot afford,” Campos said.
But the judge set bail.
Pena is due back in court on Aug. 24.