Volume 81, Number 17 | September 29 - October 5, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Photo by Jefferson Siegel

‘Rape cop’ cleared on drugs

By Jefferson Siegel

On Monday morning, former Ninth Precinct Police Officer Kenneth Moreno arrived at Manhattan Supreme Court for the start of his trial on drug possession charges. Moreno and his former partner, Franklin Mata, who became known as the “Rape Cops,” were acquitted in May on charges of raping an extremely intoxicated East Village woman in her E. 13th St. apartment. However, they were found guilty of official misconduct and subsequently fired from the department.

Moreno faced the drug possession charge because, after his arrest on the rape charge, police found a quantity of heroin in his precinct locker.

In a surprise move that stunned everyone in court, prosecutor Coleen Balbert announced that the people were dropping the drug charges.

“There is no criminal justice purpose served to proceed on the two misdemeanors,” Balbert told Judge Gregory Carro.

In the photo above, as Balbert said the charges were being dropped, Moreno reacted by closing his eyes, bowing his head and clasping his hands together in a prayer-like gesture. Moreno still faces a year in jail for the official misconduct charge. His lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, is currently appealing that decision.

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