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Prosecutors Rest Case in Trial of Cop Accused of Rape

By DNAinfo Staff on March 20, 2012 9:08pm

Accused Rape Cop Michael Pena arrives in court Thursday, March 15, 2012.
Accused Rape Cop Michael Pena arrives in court Thursday, March 15, 2012.
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DNAinfo/Theodore Parisienne

MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — The prosecution has rested its case in the trial of an off-duty police officer charged with a brutal sexual attack against a school teacher in Inwood.

The 25-year-old victim gave tearful testimony to jurors last week about the horrific encounter with accused rapist Michael Pena, 28, whose trial started just days ago in Manhattan Supreme Court. 

Pena allegedly led the woman, who was on her way to work, to the back of her building on Park Terrace West at gunpoint and then forced sexually assaulted her at about 6:15 a.m. on Aug. 19, 2011. 

"He had his gun in one hand and with the other he's fumbling with his zipper," Assistant District Attorney Evan Krutoy told the jury of seven men and five women during his opening statement on March 15. "He keeps telling her, don't look at my face."

Witnesses described the hours before the attack, when Pena drank at a Washington Heights club and sent a series of flirtatious text messages to a bartender he tried to take home. 

Prosecutors also presented evidence of Web searches in which Pena allegedly looked for early morning encounters with local escorts.

Earlier Tuesday, an emergency room doctor who treated the victim testified that the sexual acts had been forced.

"This was a sexual assault, based on the examination," Columbia-Presbyterian physician Mark Silberman testified about his findings.

But Pena's lawyer, Ephraim Savitt, has argued that he attacked the woman but did not actually penetrate her and is therefore not guilty of the serious sexual crimes he's charged with.

Pena is charged with rape, predatory sexual assault and criminal sex act and faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted of the top count.

Savitt would not say whether the disgraced police officer was going to take the witness stand in his own defense.