Jurors in the sexual assault case against disgraced NYPD Officer Michael Pena returned a split verdict Tuesday and Wednesday, convicting him of multiple counts of predatory sexual assault, but deadlocking on other charges including rape.
The details of the divided verdict as well as the complex charges have been confusing to some New Yorkers, who have reached out to DNAinfo for answers.
Here are some of the questions:
Q. What is the difference between predatory sexual assault and rape?
A. Predatory sexual assault refers to the most serious sex crimes with an added factor: use of a dangerous instrument, serious physical injury to the victim, a prior sex crime conviction or crimes involving more than one victim. To be convicted of predatory sexual assault, prosecutors must prove the initial charge — rape, criminal sexual act, etc. — and prove the aggravating factor, as well.
Q. What is the likelihood that Pena's predatory sexual assault and three counts of criminal sex act convictions will be overturned and declared a mistrial as well?
A. The mistrial on the rape and related charges does not affect the convictions from criminal sexual act and the predatory sexual assault charges that went with them. Pena can appeal the convictions on other grounds, including the relationship between a juror and the Manhattan district attorney as well as evidence and other issues that arose at trial.
Q. Can Pena be retried on the rape counts?
A. Yes, and on the related predatory sexual assault charges, as well.
Q. What sentence does Pena face?
A. He is looking at a minimum of 10 years to a maximum of 25 years to life in prison.