Disgraced ex-cop Michael Pena gets 75 years in jail for sexual assault
Ex-cop Michael Pena may never spend another day outside of a jail cell.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Richard Carruthers sentenced the disgraced Pena to 75 years to life in prison Monday morning -- the maximum he could have received -- for sexually assaulting a teacher at gunpoint in an Inwood alley last summer.
"For you, Michael Pena, there is scorn," Carruthers told Pena, according to the New York Post.
Pena, 28, had admitted, and was found guilty of drunkenly assaulting the 25-year-old woman on her way to a new job while threatening her with his police-issued gun. But Pena, who was off-duty at the time of the assault, was acquitted of rape charges, and insisted he never penetrated her. He was immediately suspended upon being arrested, and later fired from the NYPD.
In a brief statement in court, the victim said, “He used his weapon and basically destroyed my life,” according to published reports.
Pena apologized, saying, “I will always carry the shame and burden of my actions. I have no explanation for what happened that day.”
Carruthers scoffed at Pena's apology, giving him a sentence that will make him ineligible to request parole until he is 103. The victim, he said, “has defeated her tormentor.”
In a statement, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said, “I commend the victim for her bravery throughout this process, and I thank Judge Richard Carruthers for delivering an appropriate sentence that takes the viciousness of the defendant's crime into account.”
Ephraim Savitt, Pena's lawyer, told amNewYork that he found the sentence to be “shockingly disproportionate,” saying, “there are Al Qaeda terrorists that get less time than that.” He expected the sentence to be “anywhere between 15 and 25 years” in prison, and vowed to appeal.
“Although the crime was certainly a serious one, no lives were taken, nobody was physically maimed,” he said. “The victim has been able to continue her life, although, of course, there is a permanent psychological scar. You don't take someone's life for that.”